Fatty fish, green leafy vegetables, berries… these are some of the foods that could play a role in helping to keep your brain young.
1. The role of food for the brain
The brain is the control center of the body, responsible for keeping the heart beating and the lungs breathing, allowing the body to move and think. There is no magic pill to stop brain decline or no brain food that can guarantee a sharp brain as you age. Instead, nutritionists stress that the most important thing to boost your brain is to follow a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Try to get protein from plant sources, healthy fats like fish, olive oil, canola.
Certain foods are rich in ingredients that are beneficial for health, especially supporting brain health, such as omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Incorporating many of these foods into a healthy diet on a regular basis can improve brain health, boost memory, and boost mood.
2. Best foods to keep your brain young
Fatty fish such as: salmon and sardines, … contain rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. About 60% of your brain is made of fat, and half of that fat is of the omega-3 type. The brain uses omega-3s to build brain and nerve cells. These fats are essential for learning and memory.
Omega 3 also has a few additional benefits for the brain. They slow age-related mental decline and help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, not getting enough omega-3s reduces learning ability, as well as increases the likelihood of depression.
A study found that people who eat grilled fish regularly have more gray matter in their brains. Gray matter contains most of the neurons that control decision-making, memory, and emotions. Overall, fatty fish is a great choice for brain health.
You should try to eat fish at least twice a week, but choose varieties that are low in mercury like salmon, cod, and tuna. If you’re a vegetarian who doesn’t or doesn’t like fish, you can take an omega-3 supplement or choose terrestrial sources of omega-3s like flaxseeds, avocados, and walnuts.
Green, leafy vegetables
Green, leafy vegetables such as romaine, arugula, kale, collard greens, broccoli, spinach, and Swiss chard are among the foods that support brain health.
Across several studies there is fairly consistent findings that green, leafy vegetables do seem to be related to decreased risk of cognitive impairments or dementia.
Vegetables are also a key component of the MIND Diet. Developed by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, the MIND diet was shown to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in one study.
MIND stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.” It bases its healthy food choices on principles of the Mediterranean diet and the heart-healthy DASH diet, both of which are grounded in scientific research.
An active ingredient in turmeric, Curcumin, can cross the blood-brain barrier, which means it can directly enter the brain. This is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that has many benefits for the brain:
Curcumin may help improve memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease. It can also help clear the amyloid plaques that are hallmarks of this disease. Curcumin relieves depression by increasing serotonin and dopamine, which improve mood. Helps New Brain Cells Grow: Curcumin boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a growth hormone that helps brain cells grow. It also helps delay age-related mental decline.
Eggs are a good food with many nutrients tied to brain health: vitamins B6 and B12, B9 and choline. Choline is an important micronutrient that your body uses to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory.
However, many people don’t get enough choline in their diets. Eating. As a result, eating eggs is an easy way to get choline, as egg yolks are one of the most concentrated sources of this nutrient. The adequate intake of choline is 425 mg per day for most women and 550 mg per day for men. Yet with just one egg yolk contains 112 mg.
Furthermore, the B vitamins help slow the progression of mental decline in the elderly. Lack of two B vitamins: B9 and B12 increases the risk of depression.
Extra dark chocolate
Extra dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and cacao flavanols that help preserve the health of brain cells. It also contains fiber to help reduce brain inflammation and prevent cognitive decline.
A 2020 study looked at how dark chocolate and white chocolate can affect the memory of healthy young adults. Participants who were given dark chocolate had better verbal memory performances two hours after consuming the chocolate, compared to the group that received white chocolate.
Researchers suggested this was due to the higher flavonoid content of the dark chocolate, which can acutely improve cognitive function in humans. Extra dark chocolate should be at least 70% cacao or greater.
Berries can help keep your brain young
Who doesn’t want to try everything they can to keep their brain as sharp as those of 17-year-olds? While aging is a natural process that is unavoidable if we are lucky enough to live well into our golden years, it appears that including berries in an overall healthy and antioxidant-rich diet can help you attain your goal of keeping your brain health in check.
Berries are rich in antioxidant phytochemicals that are linked to brain health.
If you are looking for the best of the best when it comes to keeping your brain health where you want it to be, berries should be a staple in your home.
From blueberries to blackberries to even the tart cranberry, these tiny fruits are bursting with flavor and offer gorgeous natural hues that elevate any fruit salad or smoothie. And when it comes to brain health, these tiny nutritional powerhouses offer so much that they are hard to ignore.
No matter which berry you choose, popping one in your mouth will provide your body with antioxidants, fiber, and many vitamins and minerals, all in a low-calorie and fat-free delicious package.
Berries contain various phytochemicals, including anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin, quercetin, kaempferol, and tannin, depending on the variety of berry that you choose. These phytochemicals can provide anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-proliferative properties to the brain, ultimately helping it slow the natural aging progress of the brain.
How different berries play different roles in keeping your brain young?
If you prefer one berry over another, thankfully, you will likely find evidence of your preferred choice being a great option to help keep your brain young.
If you are a cranberry lover, rejoice in knowing that, according to results of a study published in Frontiers in Nutrition, after 12 weeks, researchers found that consuming one small cup of cranberries every day can improve memory and overall brain function.
More of a blueberry fan? You are in luck! Results of a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition showed that people who ate the equivalent of one cup of blueberries every day for 90 days exhibited better verbal memory and task-switching skills compared to those who did not eat the blueberries every day.
Fancy strawberries more than any other berry? Data published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that consuming the equivalent of two cups of strawberries every day for 90 days tested better on certain tests that measure cognition compared to those who lived a strawberry-free lifestyle.