6 Nov 2017

Feed Your Brain: Linking nutrition and brain health

From Nine To Noon, 11:25 am on 6 November 2017

Author Delia McCabe has combined her knowledge of the human brain with 20 years of research into how food influences brain function.

"Feed Your Brain: The Cookbook" by Delia McCabe.

"Feed Your Brain: The Cookbook" by Delia McCabe. Photo: Supplied

That work has culminated in a guide for preparing meals that aim to nurture more than just your body, including tips about super foods and facts about nutritious brain- beneficial ingredients.

Feed Your Brain contains more than a hundred recipes to keep your brain in tip-top shape.

The relationship between diet and brain function is scientifically proven, says McCabe.

“Our brain is the greediest organ we possess. It uses between 25 and 50 percent of the carbohydrates we consume, it has 160,000 kms of blood vessels and every fourth breath goes to supply the brain with oxygen. So to say that it’s greedy is actually an understatement.

And fat is vital to the brain’s proper functioning, she says.

“Sixty percent of the brain is made up of fat and of that between 20 and 25 is of a fat we cannot make, we have to get that from our diet so maximising those kind of fats needs to be accomplished throughout the day at every single meal.”

While our bodies can make saturated and monounsaturated fats we are unable to make poly unsaturated fats.

“That’s why they’re called essential fatty acids, we have to get them from our diet.”

Most people are deficient in the omega 3 fats, she says. These are prevalent in flax seed, cold weather oils, green leafy vegetables and cold water fish.

“The essential fats are the ones we really should be focussing on, and getting enough of them in our diet.”

And for the sake of your brain and body in general there’s one kind of food to give up permanently.

“Leave out fried food, that’s because any oil that is heated becomes damaged that damaged fat affects us at the cellular level. Fried food is something we need to leave behind immediately.

And instead of fried, think colour she says.

“Make sure your diet is very, very colourful. Those colours carry with them potent anti-oxidants which our busy brain needs in vast quantities of to be able to counter free radical activity.”

Mango ice-cream
Bitter chocolate tart
Broccoli and pomegranate salad
Spicy warm lentil, apricot and pine nut salad