Forgotten if you’ve already added sugar to your cup of coffee? Can’t remember where you left your glasses? If these scenarios sound all too familiar, maybe it’s time to consider giving your brain health a boost by switching up your diet!
According to the Neurological Institute at Cleveland Clinic, there are specific types of food that have been shown to improve brain function, protect against age-associated cognitive decline as well as encourage focus and clarity. The good news is, these types of food are inexpensive and easily available from your local grocery stores!
Boost Brain Health Food #1- Oil-based salad dressings
The next time you’re at the salad bar, reach for the healthy vegetable oil-based salad dressing. However, you’ll need to find one that is rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E is well known as an effective antioxidant that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Moreover, it may even help protect neurons or nerve cells! In Alzheimer’s disease, neurons in certain parts of the brain start to die, which could eventually lead to dementia.
Boost Brain Health Food #2 – Omega-3 foods
Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Other omega-3 rich foods are walnuts, avocados, soybeans, flaxseeds, canola or olive oil, fortified eggs, and juices. On top of protecting our brain, DHA also keeps the arteries healthy!
Boost Brain Health Food #3 – Berries
In 2010, scientists at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society presented an important research conclusion. They have concluded that blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries may help stop age-related cognitive decline. They do so by preserving the brain’s natural “housekeeper” mechanism, which diminishes with age. This mechanism helps get rid of toxic proteins that affect the neurons in our brain.
Boost Brain Health Food #4 – Whole grains
CNN reported on a study which found that eating an easy-to-follow Mediterranean diet can have lasting benefits for brain health! The diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, legumes, good fats, fish and fibre-rich whole grains. Other studies also show that this diet may be linked to a lower risk of the mild cognitive impairment that can progress to Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, this type of diet may reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and other vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure—all of which may have a role in increasing risk for brain and heart diseases.
Boost Brain Health Food #5 – Turmeric
Another type of brain food you can consider adding to your diet is turmeric which is commonly used in Indian cooking. A study published in the Stem Cell Research and Therapy journal found that turmeric may contribute to the regeneration of a ‘damaged brain’. This means, it could help with neurological disorders!
Aside from consuming more of the types of food described above to ensure a healthy memory, it is more importantly to note that the following types of food should be reduced; if you can, try to eliminate it from your diet: added sugars, syrups, trans fats, saturated fat and enriched/ bleached, or refined flour.
Generally, a more nutritious diet is just one piece of the puzzle to combat many diseases including age-associated memory loss. For example, regular exercise is just as important, if not more so, as what we ingest. Aerobic exercises boost brain functions by increasing blood flow. This promotes oxygen and nutrients to reach all parts of our body better, including our brain. Other workouts for the brain include tackling crossword puzzles or other puzzle games like Sudoku. These workouts push our mind slightly beyond its capabilities which in turn, causes regrowth of neurons. So, start working on both your diet and exercises!
- Roizen, Michael, MD. “Food for Brain Health” Neurological Institute at Cleveland Clinic, n.d. Web. Accessed 16 Jan. 2017. <https://my.clevelandclinic.org/ccf/media/files/Neurological_Institute/Cleveland-Clinic-Food-for-Brain-Health-Michael-Roizen.pdf>
- “How Turmeric can Regenerate a Damaged Brain.” Natural Society. N.p., 30 Jan. 2015. Web. Accessed 16 Jan. 2017 https://naturalsociety.com/turmeric-regenerate-damaged-brain-boost-stem-cells/
- “Eat Mediterranean diet for a healthier brain.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. Accessed 16 Jan. 2017 http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/21/health/mediterranean-diet-healthier-brain/