There’s no denying that as we age chronologically, our body ages right along with us. But research is showing that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into your old age if you add these “smart” foods to your daily eating regimen.
Oil-based salad dressings
Current research supports eating foods that are high in vitamin E and this includes healthy vegetable oil-based salad dressings, seeds and nuts, peanut butter, and whole grains A potent antioxidant, vitamin E may help protect neurons or nerve cells. In Alzheimer’s disease, neurons in certain parts of the brain start to die, which jump-starts the cascade of events leading to cognitive deterioration.
Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), that are key for brain health. These healthy fats have amazing brain power: A diet with higher levels of them has been linked to lower dementia and stroke risks and slower mental decline; plus, they may play a vital role in enhancing memory, especially as we get older.
For brain and heart health, eat two servings of fish weekly.
Like everything else in your body, the brain cannot work without energy. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from the adequate, steady supply of energy – in the form of glucose in our blood to the brain. Achieve this by choosing wholegrains with a low GI, which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. Opt for ‘brown’ cereals, wheat bran, granary bread and brown pasta.
When crunch time comes along, pop a handful of walnuts. Scientists at Tufts University in Boston found that a diet rich in walnuts may improve mental performance. A synergy between the specific type of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in this nut might be at work here to boost brain power.
Dark green leafy vegetables
Cabbage, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E and folates. For example, one cup of raw spinach has 15% of your daily intake of vitamin E, and 1/2 a cup of cooked spinach has 25% of your daily intake. Exactly how folate may protect the brain is unclear, but it may be by lowering levels of an amino acid known as homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine may trigger the death of nerve cells in the brain, but folic acid helps break down homocysteine levels.
Every organ in the body depends on blood flow, especially the heart and brain. A diet high in fruits like avocados can cut the risk of heart disease and lower bad cholesterol. This reduces your risk of plaque buildup and enhances blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to fire up brain cells.
Although avocados have fat, it’s the good-for-you, monounsaturated fat that helps with healthy blood flow.
The latest research presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston found that blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries may help put the brakes on age-related cognitive decline by preserving the brain’s natural “housekeeper” mechanism, which wanes with age. This mechanism helps get rid of toxic proteins associated with age-related memory loss.
Eat Breakfast to Fuel Your Brain
Tempted to skip breakfast? Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Students who eat it tend to perform better than those who don’t. Foods at the top of researchers’ brain-fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, dairy, and fruits. Just don’t overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.
Get Ready for a Big Day
Want to power up your ability to concentrate? Start with a meal of 100% fruit juice, a whole-grain toast with salmon, and a cup of coffee. In addition to eating a well-balanced meal, experts also offer this advice:
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Stay hydrated.
- Exercise to help sharpen thinking.
- Meditate to clear thinking and relax.
Dedicated to your health,