Eight nutrition habits to boost brain power

The Do diet: Some foods are proven to enhance memory, increase mental sharpness and even help ward off Alzheimer's.

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1. Sprinkle on some sunflower seeds
This perfect salad topper is packed with memory-preserving vitamin E and folic acid, which offer significant protection from cognitive decline, according to a study in the Archives of Neurology. Keep a stash of shelled seeds in your purse for snacking emergencies — just 1/8 cup provides over 25 percent of your daily vitamin E requirements.

2. Order in curry instead of pizza
Turmeric, a traditional Indian spice that’s rich in the antioxidant curcumin, may help prevent the buildup of a protein that can clog neural pathways in the brain. Just be sure to ask for the sauce on the side.

3. Get your veggie fix
Vegetables from the cruciferous family, such as watercress and mustard greens, have been shown to help prevent memory loss. Try arugula instead of lettuce in your salad, or toss some Swiss chard into your next stir-fry.

4. Chew gum while you think
Stick it to the New York Times crossword puzzle — or your next work deadline — with a piece of gum. Researchers at Chicago’s Northwestern University found that people who were chewing gum showed an increase in alertness and cognitive performance, thanks to added blood flow to the brain.

5. Do choose berries as your go-to afternoon snack
Berries are rich in anthocyanins, compounds that slow cognitive decline. Stay sharp with these simple snacks, perfect for busting that 3 p.m. workday slump.
1. Pair a handful of fresh raspberries with 1/4 cup almonds.
2. Top 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1/4 cup blueberries.
3. Sprinkle strawberries over 1/2 cup vanilla-flavoured, Greek-style yogurt and add 2 tbsp low-fat granola
for a treat.
Tip: Frozen berries contain all the nutrients of fresh ones. Thaw in the microwave or in the fridge overnight.

6. Sip a glass of red wine with dinner
A glass of cabernet sauvignon could be insurance for your golden years. Research shows resveratrol, a polyphenol in red wine, helps protect brain tissue from the effects of aging and may help ward off dementia.

7. Eat an apple a day
Quercetin, an antioxidant found in apple peels, helps protect brain cells from oxidative damage, which can dull your mental sharpness over time. Enjoy apples on their own, add them diced to fresh-fruit salads, toss pieces over your morning muesli or bake them with a brown-sugar-and oat topping for dessert.

8. Serve fish tonight
A study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that seniors who eat fish at least once a week have the same memory function and thinking ability as those three to four years younger. Cool!



Tandoori salmon with zucchini boats

Prep 10 min
Total 20 min


4 salmon fi llets, 180 g each
4 tsp tandoori curry paste or 2 tsp mild Indian curry paste
4 medium zucchini
1 tsp olive oil
pinches of salt, pepper and cumin
1/2 cup plain yogourt (not low- fat) or sour cream
1 green onion, sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander


1. Oil grill and heat barbecue to mediumhigh. Smear tops of fish with tandoori paste. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out and discard seeds. Brush all over with oil and sprinkle with seasonings. In a bowl, stir yogourt with onion.
2. Place fish, skin-side down, on grill. Then add zucchini, cut-side down. Close lid. Barbecue until a knife tip inserted into centre of fillets comes out warm, 10 to 14 min. Don’t turn fish.
3. Turn zucchini after 5 min, and as soon as each piece is forktender, remove to a large platter.
4. Remove salmon by inserting a wide metal spatula between skin and flesh, leaving skin on grill. Place on platter with zucchini. Fill zucchini with yogourt mixture and sprinkle with coriander. Good with rice pilaf. Serves 4.

Per serving: 305 calories, 29 g protein, 10 g carbs, 17 g fat, 3 g fibre, 249 mg sodium.

Or try these easy recipes:

Roasted mackerel with avocado salad
Broil fillets skin-side up; serve with a green salad topped with diced avocado and vinaigrette. Bonus: Avocado is rich in folate, a proven memory aid.

Simple salmon with collard greens
Grill or poach fillets. Sauté collard greens in a little olive oil and crushed garlic.
Bonus: The antioxidants in collard greens were shown to help women maintain their memory in a 25-year study at Harvard Medical School.