There are many sources of advice on how to achieve a long and healthy life but fitness websites, articles and books nearly all fail at the most fundamental level: they don’t know or understand how and why we live as long as we do, and how and why we age.
And many provide information that is likely to age you — and your brain — faster.The secret to optimum long-term brain health is not what you might think. So, yes you need to eat lots of leafy green vegetables, beans and pulses and cut right back on sugar and sugary foods — that’s now incontrovertible, whatever healthy diet plan you’re looking at.
But my research has uncovered the basis for some potentially controversial recommendations: the Mindspan Elite have a diet rich in ‘white’ carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and white rice, so processed carbohydrates do have their place in the Mindspan diet.
Less controversially, fermented foods such as vinegar, pickles, and even red wine, also play a significant role. But perhaps the most controversial — but key — recommendation is to avoid foods that are very high in iron, including otherwise healthful foods that are enriched with it.
There is no doubt that iron, which is abundant in red meat as well as many other foods, is a critical nutrient for proper functioning of the body and mind — it is an essential mineral which forms an important component of haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs and throughout your body. However, most adults in the developed world get far too much iron.
And while we all know that young people are more robust and can tolerate stresses that might harm older people, what we don’t fully appreciate is that some things that are good for us when we are young can harm us as we age.