Did you know that there are certain foods you can eat to help keep your brain healthy? Having a brain healthy diet is similar to having a heart healthy diet. There are many foods to keep in mind as part of your daily diet to help stimulate your brain. According to an article on FitBrains.com here are the top 5 components for a brain healthy diet (www.fitbrains.com/brain-health/nutrition.)
1.Fill Up on Fruits and Veggies
Good nutrition helps you avoid diseases that make life tough on your brain. Fruits and vegetables—especially if they’re green and leafy—are a powerhouse for brain health. Eating 3 to 5 half-cup portions of fruit and vegetables will not only add color to your diet, they prolong the health of your grey matter as well.
2. Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals—groups of atoms that can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases. A diet rich in antioxidants may also keep the brain operating at its peak to help reduce the risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
10 Brain Foods Rich in Antioxidants: Whole grains, berries, broccoli, soy, carrots, red grapes, garlic, spinach, green tea and tomatoes
3. Plump Up Your Processing Power with Omega-3
Your brain is comprised of at least 60% fat. It’s the fatty or lipid part of your brain that helps rapidly transmit information across your neural networks. Our bodies don’t naturally produce omega-3 fatty acids, so it’s essential to include them in your diet. Why? Eating omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to maintaining proper fat in your brain, boosting your brain’s processing power and fighting mental health decline. In fact, research demonstrates a relationship between eating several ounces of salmon a week and both improved cognition and reduced risk of dementia. So it makes sense to seek out the sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
7 Sensational Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Cold Water Oily Fish – salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, trout and sardines
Walnuts – a 1/4 cup provides 90.8% of your daily requirement of essential fats
Other Nuts – brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds
Leafy Green Vegetables – think spinach, Swiss chard or kale
Seeds – flax, pumpkin and sesame seeds
Oils – canola, grapeseed, linseed/flaxseed or soybean oil
Eggs – egg yolks are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids
4. Cut the Calories
Research indicates that being overweight may lead to an increased risk of decline in brain function later in life. In fact, overweight or obese individuals in their 40’s may be more prone to developing Alzheimer’s as seniors. Metabolic processes are initiated by the burning of calories and can have the potential to affect cognitive function. As a result, a healthy caloric intake can increase cognitive functioning, while overeating can increase the vulnerability of cells to damage.
5. Spare the Sodium & Cholesterol
Excessive sodium and cholesterol in your diet can be deadly and lead to high blood pressure and increased buildup on your blood vessel walls. These nutritional no-no’s have been linked to heart attack and stroke. And, when it comes to your brain, lifestyle factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol can contribute to dementia. That’s why it’s essential to keep a lid on cholesterol.
At AutumnGrove we strive to help keep our resident’s diets as brain healthy as possible. We also want to help promote a healthy lifestyle to our friends and family members so they can actively prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia.