We are all familiar with the scarecrow from “The Wizard of Oz” who tagged along with Dorothy on her magical journey in hope to get his “brain function” back.
Unfortunately, in this age and time, we too hope for something “magical” to occur when brain power begins to decline, we all look for medications that can give off an instantaneous effect. However, there’s absolutely nothing pharmaceutical companies can do when brain function begins to falter.
Nurturing a healthy brain is essential and it has been scientifically proven that eating the right foods effectively maintains and preserves brain health.
This being said there are a lot of things that are not written on the prescription pad but have been scientifically proven to maintain and preserve brain health.
Eating The Right Foods Is One Of Them.
Sadly, we are all at a risk of brain degeneration. According to Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.5 million Americans are living with the condition while every 66 second someone in the country develops this dreaded disease.
This means that we should do everything possible to reduce our risk by nurturing a healthy brain.
Dementia and Healthy Diet: What To Eat For Brain Health
Can dementia be prevented? This is the question intriguing researchers all over the world. Although there is no clear answer to the question, research does show that exercise, diet, as well as social and mental stimulation can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Experts also agree that while age and genes are an important risk factor (which we can’t change) for many chronic conditions including Alzheimer’s, there certainly are some other factors that we can take care of to reduce the risk. One of these factors is taking a healthy diet and learning what to eat for brain health.
How Does Our Diet Influence Our Brain Power?
While research is not yet conclusive, strong evidence suggests that a healthy diet rich in unprocessed foods as well as supplements has a great impact on our brain health owing to its effect on our heart health. In fact, studies have shown that poor diet impacts a person’s memory and increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life.
Just like the rest of our body, our brain needs natural nutrients to support healthy cognitive function and memory. To reduce your risks, make sure you get plenty of “brain boosting” foods every day. If you are really keen to keep your brain and body in optimum health, you might even consider making 60% of your diet a raw diet and reap the benefits of raw foods
It is never too late to start. Here are the top 7 foods for brain health and memory that are known to keep your whole body including your brain – healthy.
Wild caught Alaskan Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout are just some examples of oily fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
The omega-3 DHA oil present in these fish play an important role in maintaining the health of brain cells and even helps boost their production. Not only do these omega 3 fatty acids help nourish brain cells, they also help fight inflammation through out the body.
2. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
They may not be on your top 10 list of food for brain health and memory! Kale, spinach, and broccoli are great sources of vitamin E and folate. Although it’s still unclear how these nutrients benefit the brain, experts believe that they help lower homocysteine levels in the blood which have been known to trigger the death of nerve cells in the brain.
High homocysteine levels are also linked with an increased risk of heart diseases. If you are looking for some inspiring recipes, The Cooking Detective has some great ideas.
3. Peanuts and Peanut Butter
Despite being high in fat, peanuts and peanut butter are an excellent source of healthy fats. They are also rich in vitamin E.
“There has been some very good research that diets that are high in healthy fats, low in saturated fat and trans fats are good for the brain and the heart,” says Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Senior Director of medical and scientific relations at the Chicago-based Alzheimer’s Association.
These foods help keep the heart and brain healthy and support proper functioning. Those who don’t enjoy peanuts and peanut butter can substitute it with hazelnuts and almonds for similar benefits.
In the latest research in food for brain power and memory by the American Chemical Society of Boston concluded that strawberries, blueberries, and acai berries activates the brain’s natural “housekeeper” mechanism which is responsible for cleaning and removing the age-related toxins.
According to the research, polyphenolics found in these fruits have an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that protects against age-related decline.
Apart from assorted berries, walnuts and fruits with deep red, orange, and blue colors are also a rich source of polyphenolics.
5. Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil is known to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths and it is undoubtedly one of the healthiest foods you can take for your heart. This is because it contains oleic acid and oleocanthal – the nutrients that can fight inflammation and maintain blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels.
As mentioned earlier, what is good for the heart is good for the brain too. Just like berries, polyphenols are antioxidants found in olive oil which are known to reverse oxidative damage to the brain and improve function, making these oils one of the best foods for brain power and memory
Olive oil is easy to use and if you don’t want to use it exclusively for frying and sautéing, you can simply drizzle it over your favorite meal or salad for enhanced taste.
6. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, the mineral responsible for good memory and overall brain function.
These versatile little greenish seeds are also a good source of magnesium, vitamins and tryptophan – the nutrients essential for warding off depression and other mood-related disorders.
Pumpkin seeds can be added into salads, stir fries, soups and crushed an added into dukkahs.
Foods that are good for your brain include broccoli, one of those much maligned foods we didn’t enjoy as children! Researchers have reported broccoli to be rich in vitamin K which is responsible for improving brain function and power.
It is also concluded that broccoli is high in compounds called glucosinolates which reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter needed by the brain to perform properly.
Low levels of acetylcholine are linked with Alzheimer’s.
Research suggest that regular exercise improves brain function, slows down the aging process, and keeps us mentally and physically agile. Additionally, it is known to help reduce the risk of various diseases including dementia.
The Final Word
Our diet goes far beyond then helping us merely survive. When the right foods are consumed, we are more energetic, emotionally stable, physically fit, and happier – in short, we are a lot healthier when our diet is of high quality.
Of course, nothing can guarantee your protection against the many diseases including Alzheimer’s that we are at risk of. But why take the chance? There is no downside of implementing good eating habits by making sure to include foods that are good for your brain. Right?
About Erica Silva
Erica Silva is a blogger who loves to discover and explore the world around her. She writes on everything from marketing to technology, science and brain health.
She enjoys sharing her discoveries and experiences with readers and believes her blogs can make the world a better place. Currently, she is associated with DementiaTalk Team.
Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1