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We all want a healthy brain as we age. However, as our lifespan increases so does our risk of developing age-related illnesses. Dementia is now the second leading cause of death in Australia and has the same risk factors as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. JOANNA McMILLAN says good eating habits can slow the ageing process of the brain – and help keep your body healthier, too.

We used to think dementia was just the luck of the draw, but we now know the risk can be substantially reduced through following a healthy eating plan, such as a Mediterranean-style diet.

Age affects pretty much every cell in the body. Visibly we see the effects on skin, hair and body composition such as muscle and fat levels. However, ageing is also responsible for changes in the brain.

MACs is the hot new acronym in the nutrition world. It stands for Microbiota Accessible Carbohydrates, which are the carbs in our food not broken down in the small intestine by our digestive enzymes so they can enter our colon. There, they are fermented by the microbiota (the micro-organisms in the gut) which produce a whole host of by-products, including short-chain fatty acids. This is important not just for the gut but for the knock-on effect throughout the body, including the brain.

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