6 Foods to Eat Every Day for Better Brain Health
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These nutrient-dense picks will help keep your mind sharp and brain healthy.
The brain is a very important organ. It’s the control center of your body and allows you to move, think, feel, breathe, and more. Because the brain has such a big job, it’s imperative that we provide it with an abundance of fuel and nutrients to help it function properly and stay healthy. The foods we eat play a huge role in the structure and health of our brains. A 2019 study published in Public Health Nutrition showed that foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavanols, polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids can help protect your brain. They can help to improve memory, concentration, and overall brain health.
Additionally, research has shown that following the MIND diet, a mashup of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet that promotes eating specific brain-healthy foods can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Many of the foods we’ve included here are also on the MIND diet’s list of best brain foods. Here are six things you should be eating for better brain health.
1. Leafy Greens
Vitamin K, beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), folate, and vitamin E are all abundant in leafy greens like spinach and kale. Antioxidant vitamin E shields cells from free radical damage and has been related to halting cognitive loss in older people. Beta carotene and vitamin K have also been related to bettering cognitive function and preventing memory loss, which both contribute to bettering brain health. Increasing your intake of leafy greens doesn’t have to be hard. You can try adding a handful of greens when preparing a smoothie or adding a serving of greens to your favorite casserole recipe.
2. Lamb for Brain Health
Are you a fan of lamb? If this is the case, you might be surprised to hear that eating lamb has benefits including enhanced long-term cognition. According to a 2020 study released in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, weekly consumption of lamb but not other red meats was associated with improved long-term cognition. The 10-year study noted improvements in fluid intelligence scores in individuals who consumed certain foods, including lamb. It is simple to incorporate lamb into your diet because it is produced year-round and sold in every state in the U.S. Try adding lamb to your favorite stew recipe or cooking it on the grill.
Eggs are one of the most popular breakfast foods—and for good reason. They are inexpensive and offer a host of health benefits, especially when it comes to brain health. According to a 2019 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, frequent egg eating has been linked to enhanced cognitive function in adults. Eggs are one of the best food sources of choline. Choline has been related to lowering inflammation and fostering mental abilities like memory retention and cell-to-cell communication. Although eggs are frequently eaten for breakfast, they are a delicious addition to any meal. Try using eggs to make a savory dinner quiche or a fabulous creamy custard for dessert.
Did you know that salmon, in addition to being a fantastic source of protein, is also excellent for the health of the brain? Fatty fish like salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical for brain development and function.These fatty acids have been related to a lower incidence of heart disease and arthritis in addition to enhancing cognitive function.Diverse methods of preparation exist for salmon. You can either add it to your preferred pasta meal or sear it and serve it with a substantial portion of vegetables. Our five-star Walnut-Rosemary Crusted Salmon will help boost your omega-3 intake in a delicious way.
5. Blueberries for Brain Health
While all berries are beneficial for brain health, blueberries are at the top of the list. They contribute essential nutrients to the body, including vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and phytonutrients. These nutrients help to stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen in the brain, resulting in improved concentration. According to a 2019 study in the journal Public Health Nutrition, consuming a varied diet of fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, may reduce your chance of developing dementia or age-related cognitive impairment. There are many ways to enjoy this tasty fruit—try adding a handful to your smoothie recipe or pureeing a few berries to make a delicious blueberry chia jam.
Nuts are a great addition to any diet regimen, but the one that contributes most to brain health is walnuts. When compared to other nuts, walnuts offer twice as many antioxidants. They contain an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid that helps to counteract cognitive decline by suppressing inflammation and oxidative stress. Dementia has been associated with oxidative stress and inflammation. A 2020 study published in Nutrients suggests that eating about 1 to 2 ounces of walnuts per day can improve cognitive function. Try adding a serving of walnuts to a hearty salad or pairing them with a variety of roasted vegetables.
The Bottom Line
The foods you eat play an important role in brain health. You can help to improve your brain health, memory, and alertness by including nutritious foods such as leafy greens, and walnuts in your daily diet. These foods may also help to reduce the risk of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.