What employees should be eating (and avoiding)

HC talks to one expert about what workers should be eating to boost the brain, memory and cognition

What employees should be eating (and avoiding)
It’s important to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure we get all the essential nutrients for best brain health and performance, said Dr Jenny Brockis, medical practitioner and author of the book Future Brain: The 12 Keys To Create Your High Performance Brain.

However, there are certain types of food that research has found to boost our mood, our memory and our cognition, she told HC.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the better-known diets, but another one which is emerging is the MIND diet which was developed by Martha Clare Morris, PhD, a Rush University nutritional epidemiologist and her colleagues.

“They based this on purely scientific findings on what has been shown to boost our brain,” said Dr Brockis.

“It is very similar to the Mediterranean diet. It includes leafy green vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and an occasional glass of wine.”

It features at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day.

It also involves snacking most days on nuts and eating beans some days, along with poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. 

In fact, it lowered the risk of Alzheimer's by as much as 53% in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35% in those who followed it “moderately well”, according to a paper published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dr Brockis added that the western diet can be very high in processed food and has also got "hidden extras" such as trans fats, salts and sugars, which are not good for the brain.

Sugar, in particular, can cause greater levels of inflammation in our body and it’s now better understood that inflammation contributes to poorer brain health and physical health.

“Keep away from the added sugar and added salts which tend to be in the snacky foods,” said Dr Brockis.

She added that she believes there is so much contrary advice and it’s getting so confusing for people.

“I think we need to go back to the basics and remind ourselves that we have evolved to enjoy and digest a whole array of great foods,” she said.

“Let’s focus on eating more of those and stop the celebrity diets and the other things which are really based on a lot of pseudo-science that can’t be backed up.”

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