Good brain health becomes increasingly important as we get older. Eating the right foods can boost our cognitive functions and can even help to see off conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Keeping your brain as fit and healthy as your body is easy if you eat the right foods.
Not only are blueberries one of the best brain foods, but they also taste delicious! Eat them as a snack, add them to your morning cereal, or put them in a smoothie with other fruits to get your five-a-day at the same time as you are giving your brain cells a boost.
Studies have shown that blueberries have improved the motor and cognitive skills of aging rats, putting them back on the same level as younger animals, while the super fruit can also protect your brain cells from damage that can lead to diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Salmon and Oily Fish
Salmon, as well as other fish such as mackerel, trout, tuna and herring, are rich in Omega-3 oil. These fatty acids are not only great for boosting brain health, but they also help lower cholesterol, making our hearts healthier. Experts recommend that we should be eating at least two portions of these oily fish every week in order to get the maximum benefits. You can get Omega-3 in supplement form too, but when the natural supply is as tasty as salmon and tuna, why bother?
Avocados are rich in monosaturated fats which, unlike other fats, actually help to reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow around the body, including in the brain. It is this increased blood flow that boosts brain health, as high blood pressure has been linked to the general decline in our cognitive abilities as we get older. As avocados are quite high in fat content, however, they should be eaten in moderation to make sure that their benefits aren’t outweighed by their unhealthier attributes.
Snacking for Brain Health
You can even boost your brain while you snack, thanks to the healthy properties of many nuts and seeds. Lots of nuts and seeds are rich in Vitamin E — which has also been linked to preventing that general decline in brain function as we age.
Vitamin E is also good for the skin, especially to prevent signs of aging and help scars heal, and keeps our hair and nails looking healthy. Hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, unsalted peanuts and walnuts are the best options, along with sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Even peanut butter is good for your brain — and a great way to make sure kids are getting Vitamin E.
You can even boost your brain and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time, thanks to the healthy properties in dark chocolate. An ounce of dark chocolate every day can improve focus and concentration, thanks to its caffeine content, and stimulate the production of natural endorphins, which can help people with anxiety and depression feel naturally happier.
Tea and juice
Drinking the right beverages can also help to improve your cognitive abilities, and prevent degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The caffeine content in freshly brewed tea can help you concentrate at work or at school, while also acting as a natural mood enhancer.
It is also rich in antioxidants which have various benefits for the body, including increased blood flow. Two cups a day contains about the right amount of caffeine you need every day for brain health.
Fruit juices are also a great source of nutrients for brain health; pomegranate juice is particularly high in antioxidants which protect brain cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
Free radicals have been linked to Alzheimer’s and strokes, so a diet rich in antioxidants is a powerful way to protect your brain. Many fruit juices, whether made at home or store bought, are high in sugar content, so you should try and restrict your intake to about one cup a day.
Eating better for brain health doesn’t have to be a chore. Many of the best foods for boosting your cognitive function and protecting yourself against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are delicious, and most people will be eating a little of these foods in your weekly diet already. You just need to increase your intake to keep your brain healthy well into old age.