Tuesday 6th September 2016

Seaweed is superfood for the brain

Dementia is on the increase in the UK, with 800,000 people suffering with the condition and one in three people over the age of 65 likely to develop it, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Mineral-rich food from the sea is a great way to keep the brain healthy and protect it from dementia, says Oliver Cowmeadow, leading macrobiotic practitioner and founder of the International Macrobiotic School in Littlehempston, near Totnes.

The brain, he explains, is like the heart in that it needs a good flow of blood rich in oxygen and nutrients to stay in good health, and can suffer from clogging.

Sea vegetables contain all 56 minerals and trace elements needed for health in 20 times higher concentrations than found in land plants, and are easy to use in soups and stews.

They can be bought dried in wholefood shops, and are generally mild in flavour – only a small amount is needed as they expand by four or five times when cooked.

Fish is also a good brain food, containing minerals and essential oils, but meat could be detrimental - there’s much evidence that high protein diets are actually harmful for the brain.

Avoiding sugar is also key as people with high blood sugar levels have increased rates of dementia. Sugar destroys the fine blood capillaries, which in the brain can lead to vascular dementia. Grain sweeteners such as barley and rice malt syrup are a good occasional alternative to refined sugars.

Find out more: 

For those who want to learn more, the International Macrobiotic school is offering a one-day course on November 17 on preventing dementia with daily diet and lifestyle. See our day courses pages for more details.



Guide to Sea Vegetables

Agar agar – comes in flakes, for making savoury or fruit jellies
Arame - cook with a vegetable like carrots or onions
Dulse - use in soups
Hiziki - cook with a vegetable like carrots, and add roasted sesame seeds or sliced roasted almonds
Kelp (kombu) - cook with beans and in stews to add flavour
Nori - use to wrap around rice in making sushi, and can be roasted and used as a snack
Sea Salad – use in soups, stir-fries and salads
Wakame - use in soups