ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT BRAIN HEALTH AND COGNITIVE DECLINE?
Many people, including a significant number of my patients, only consider their body’s nutritional needs, meaning from the neck down. But the neck up, the brain, has the identical nourishment requirements.
The brain is an energy-intensive organ, using around 20% of the body’s calories, so it needs plenty of good fuel to maintain concentration throughout the day. The brain also requires certain nutrients to stay healthy and reduce inflammation, factors linked to brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Changes to your body and brain are normal as you age. Just like the rest of your body, poor nutritional choices can have a negative impact on your brain’s function. Give your brain the right nutrients to boost memory, improve mental health.
Just as there is no magic pill to prevent cognitive decline, no single brain food can ensure a sharp brain as you age. Harvard Health recommends implementing a healthy dietary pattern that includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Try to get protein from plant sources and fish and choose healthy fats, such as olive oil or canola, rather than saturated fats.
Research shows that the best brain foods are the same ones that protect your body. Include most of the following foods in your diet:
- Green Leafy vegetables
- Fatty (oily)Fish
- Tea and Coffee
- Nuts and Seeds
- whole grains
- Olive oil and Avocado
- Beans and Soy products
There isn’t one specific diet that is best for brain health. As your body gets older, so does your brain. You can’t stop normal cognitive decline, just as you can’t stop other parts of normal aging. However, you can reduce your risk of decline by eating for healthy aging. Choosing foods that nourish your body and brain can help prevent or delay health problems.
Consider following a Mediterranean diet (similar to the MIND and Dash Plans), which emphasizes plant-based foods, whole grains, fish, and healthy fats, such as olive oil. It incorporates less red meat and salt than a typical American diet.
Remember – eating a brain-boosting diet benefits the entire body.
- Cognitive Health: What’s Good for the Body Is Good for the Brain By Denise Webb, PhD, RD; Today’s Dietitian; Vol. 24 No. 8 P. 10.
- Foods Linked to Better Brainpower, Harvard Health
- 5 Tips to Keep Your Brain Healthy, Mayo Clinic Health
- 12 Foods to Boost Brain Function, Medical News Today
- Best Food for a Healthy Brain, Health Beat
- What to Know About Foods for Brain Health, WebMD