Let’s face it. Most of us could use a little help in the brain-boosting department. As we age, mental fog and forgetfulness become increasingly more common. But, why is that?
When the body suffers from assaults -- like poor dietary habits or exposure to environmental toxins--the brain goes into a more inflammatory state. This heightened inflammatory state, over time, can damage neurons and impact cognitive functioning and memory.
Thankfully, a lot of the nuisances that we thought are part of the ‘normal’ aging process can actually be corrected or prevented. With certain lifestyle changes -- like exercising, drinking lots of water, and eating brain food -- our brains can bounce back.
Just as there are foods helpful for your overall health, there are foods that are especially helpful for your brain. To maintain a better brain, make sure your meals include plenty of:
Turmeric’s beneficial compound, curcumin, has been studied widely for its ability to prevent and fight disease. In a study conducted by Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, researchers
found that turmeric can help prevent and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and play a supportive role in the treatment of traumatic brain injury. This golden spice adds a flavorful punch to meals and can be stirred into teas for a warm brain-boosting beverage.
Organic, pasture-raised eggs are rich in choline and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy brain. Symptoms of choline deficiency include fatigue, sleeplessness, and memory problems. For a double dose of brain-enhancing action, add a dash of turmeric to your scrambled eggs or mix it in with your egg salad.
Fish & Seafood
There's ample research to confirm that essential fatty acids, like omega-3s, are very beneficial for your health. In fact, if your DHA (a form of omega-3) is low, the brain is more susceptible to degeneration. Since our bodies are unable to produce these fatty acids on their own, we need to make sure that foods rich in omega-3s are a part of our diets. Cold-water fatty fish like salmon, trout, sardines, and anchovies are all excellent options. Aim for a 3-ounce serving of fatty fish twice a week.
Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, antioxidants that offer a number of neuro protective properties, decrease rates of cognitive decline, and potentially slow the progression of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease.
In addition, chocolate can provide significant amounts of arginine, an amino acid that's required in the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps regulate blood flow, inflammation, and blood pressure. Unlike the saturated fats found in meat and dairy products, the saturated fats found in chocolate do not elevate cholesterol levels.
Shop for high-quality, low-sugar varieties of dark chocolate consisting of at least 70% cacao content. Most experts agree that the recommended "dose" of dark chocolate is approximately 1 to 2 ounces.
Full of flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve animals' cognition, blueberries are a powerful brain treat that sweeten up oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, and more. In one study, researchers analyzed 25 fruits for their antioxidant activity and, together with pomegranate, blueberries scored the highest. Another study revealed that regular consumption of blueberries can delay cognitive aging by several years.
Other foods rich in flavonoids include green tea. Based on one study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, researchers found that those who drank green tea extract experienced increased cognitive functioning, as demonstrated by functional magnetic resonance imaging. In a number of other exciting studies, green tea has shown to be extremely beneficial in slowing
down aging, improving brain function, protecting from brain diseases, and decreasing inflammation.
We all want to avoid memory loss, forgetfulness, and brain fog for as long as possible. The good news is, there are healthy steps you can take to care for the brain you were given. The longevity and health of both your brain and your body are dependent upon consuming healthy whole foods, so the power to fortify and protect your brain is in your hands. Every time you make a good food choice, you are saying ‘yes’ to a sharper, healthier brain.
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