There are many things that can help you exercise your brain and keep it healthy, but it’s not so well-known that your diet also plays a crucial role in reducing your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study showed that a specific diet, called the MIND diet, might reduce the risk of these diseases.
At Bright Side, after extensive research, we gathered the main nutritious elements you should include in your diet plan for a strong brain, and others that you need to avoid.
Healthy brain foods
1. Berries are the number one fruit to consume.
Berries are high in flavonoids, which are very beneficial for our brain. During a 20-year study with thousands of people consuming various fruits, researchers found that those who ate mostly berries had the slowest cognitive decline rates. So add blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries to your snacks; your brain will thank you later on.
2. Eat your greens, as our moms used to say.
And they were absolutely right. Vegetables are good for our health on so many levels, including our brain health, because of nutrients like folate, flavonoids, vitamin E, and carotenoids. Green leafy veggies like spinach, collards, lettuce, and kale are the best options and have been shown to lower the rate of brain aging. So, don’t forget to include a salad with your meal.
3. Make nuts your new snack.
Instead of processed snacks and sweets, choose a handful of raw or roasted nuts, which are high in the vitamin E that helps our brains function. Because of their compounds, healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants, they help our overall health. You can also try to mix nuts and berries and make a brain boost combo.
4. Use olive oil more, raw and in cooking.
If you know a few things about the Mediterranean diet, then you know that olive oil is the number one ally for a good and healthy meal. Doctors advise limiting any other oils or butter and including olive oil — specifically extra virgin olive oil — to your diet, which acts as a protector for our brains against dementia.
5. Add fish to your table at least once a week.
Studies showed that people over 65 who constantly ate fish, scored better on memory tests compared to those who ate less or no fish, and prefer meat. Fish includes healthy fats, B-6, and B-12 which are beneficial for our brains. According to the MIND diet once a week is enough.
1. Reduce meat, especially red meat, and get your protein from beans, lentils, and soy.
You’d be surprised by how much protein our body can get from other sources aside from meat. Experts advise lowering the consumption of meat as much as possible and getting the protein our brain needs from beans, lentils, and soybeans, that are rich in protein and also contain plenty of fiber and vitamin B, which are necessary to maintain a healthy mind.
2. Limit butter, margarine, and cheese (that’s a tough one, we know!).
That’s a tough one for cheese lovers, but according to the MIND diet, cheese, especially the full-fat kind, should be reduced if we want to lower our risk of dementia. The same applies to butter and stick margarine — it’s best to replace these with olive oil.
3. Sugar and salt are not our brain’s friends.
If we want to improve our brain health, slow down brain aging, and lower the risk of cognitive decline, then we should definitely avoid sugar and sodium as much as possible. On one hand sweets and pastries damage our brains over time, because they may lead to diabetes which raises the risk of Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, salt raises blood pressure, which might lead to a stroke and other brain issues.
Cheese may be delicious, but it’s not very good for our brain. Do you have a nutrition plan in order to keep your body healthy? Share your diet habits with us in the comments.