Over the course of a person’s life, as the body begins to age, so does the brain. Although this is the natural progression of life, there are a variety of ways to keep the brain healthy. One of the most important ways to care for the brain is to focus on good nutrition. Although it only weighs about three pounds, the brain uses 20% of the calories eaten each day. There are a variety of foods that have been proven to fight brain aging, including these 10 foods!
- Green Tea - Catechin is a type of antioxidant found in green tea that has been proven to have defensive effects for the neurons in the brain. In turn, this lowers the risk for developing neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, green tea has far less caffeine than coffee, but when consumed, it does help energy levels. In fact, many argue the caffeine from green tea gives you more stable energy. The caffeine also works with the amino acid L-theanine to improve brain function.
- Cruciferous Vegetables - B vitamins are very important for brain health, as they are used to assist nerves in the development of the chemicals used for communication. They provide a protective coating on the actual nerves as well, which can help fight natural degradation. Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower are full of B vitamins! Additional nutrients help in preventing memory loss, eye problems related to aging, and cancer. Including cruciferous vegetables in a person’s daily diet is highly recommended!
- Berries - Berries are considered one of the best foods for the brain. They stimulate the production of new brain cells, which is great for the aging brain. Berries also help the brain get rid of the toxic accumulation of proteins, which has been proven to protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well. Additionally, berries are full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, and they help the brain cells communicate efficiently and have been known to slow the growth of certain types of cancer. Plus, they are a sweet treat to include in a person’s everyday meal plan!
- Grapes - Another very valuable fruit for brain aging is the grape. High in the antioxidant called resveratrol, grapes have been proven to have life-sustaining effects on the body. Resveratrol is an anti-inflammatory nutrient with anticoagulant properties, which helps blood flow in the body and brain. Another fruit full of antioxidants, grapes help prevent many diseases. Additionally, grapes are great for maintaining skin health.
- Chia Seeds - Omega-3 fatty acids are great for preventing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and chia seeds are a great source! Chia seeds come from the salvia plant. Great nourishment for the brain, chia seeds help clean the plaque from the arteries of the brain and help the brain cells communicate. Although they are low in calories, they are high in essential nutrients including fiber, protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and many B vitamins. In addition, eating chia seeds lowers the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Turmeric - A spice from the plant in the ginger family, turmeric has anti-inflammatory compounds that protect against Alzheimer’s, dementia, and stroke. Turmeric helps ease blood flow of the vessels in the brain. Furthermore, those who already suffer from neurodegenerative diseases can find significant improvement in their brain function by consuming turmeric without any negative side effects. Turmeric has also been linked to improvement of mood and the reduction of anxiety.
- Nuts - Full of healthy fats, vitamins, and proteins, nuts have been known to help reduce brain aging. Nuts have been linked to recovering inflammation and to fighting brain dysfunction. The pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain, releases a growth hormone that quickly declines after the age of 35. Nuts are full of the amino acid arginine, which is known to stimulate the pituitary gland, preventing brain aging. Nuts also contain many antioxidants!
- Lentils - Lentils are an excellent way to get a steady stream of glucose to the brain despite their low amount of calories. Glucose is an essential source of energy for all cells in the body and the brain is dependent on it for fuel. The high levels of fiber help to regulate how the glucose is released, which provides the balanced and continual stream of energy. Their high level of iron helps with the brain’s ability to quickly process information in the cortex, which protects from the effects of brain aging. Lentils are also a great source of folate, which helps to create and repair DNA.
An important staple in a variety of diets all over the world, fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which is important in preventing cognitive decline. Studies have shown that consuming higher levels of omega-3’s could result in years of additional brain health. Fish oil prevents the brain from shrinking with age and the anti-inflammatory compounds in fish are known to prevent cell damage and death. Omega-3’s are great for the hippocampus, known to be related to learning and memory.
- Dark Chocolate
Chocolate can actually be good for a person’s brain in moderation, specifically dark chocolate. Not only does dark chocolate boost memory, it is full of flavonoids, which are associated with antioxidant activity. Plus, it helps prevent viral illnesses, cancer, and inflammation, and helps protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia. Moreover, studies have drawn a connection between dark chocolate and the slowing of the progression of dementia when already present.
Nutrition is essential for the brain to function at its best! For more information on how you can improve your brain function, affecting memory, attention, focus, and more, schedule a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross.
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