Everybody knows that what you eat matters to your health. This is especially true as you age. Foods with plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonols, polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to help protect your brain from the effects of aging. From maintaining overall brain health to improving your memory and concentration, these foods for the aging brain can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and keep your brain as healthy as the rest of your body!
Filled with fiber, compounds, and antioxidants, eating berries regularly can do wonders for your brain health. Specifically, blueberries are one of the best fruits for your brain. They contain essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and phytonutrients which enhance concentration by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. A diet rich in blueberries has been shown to lower the risk of age-related cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Try eating a handful of blueberries as an afternoon snack or adding a cup of them to your smoothie for breakfast!
Another small but nutrient-packed food, walnuts are chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids that can improve cardiovascular health, regulate cholesterol and even boost your spirits! Since walnuts offer twice as many antioxidants as other nuts, they are particularly beneficial for brain health. They are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid that prevents cognitive deterioration. ALA works by diminishing inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Together with a healthy lifestyle, getting a good dose of ALA with 1 to 2 ounces of walnuts per day can keep your brain healthy. Sprinkle some walnuts over your favorite garden salad or use them to give your roasted vegetables a hearty crunch.
Research has shown that regularly eating eggs has been linked to better cognitive performance in adults. The secret to its brain-boosting effects? Choline. This nutrient has been found to reduce inflammation and improve brain functions like memory and communications between brain cells. An inexpensive staple, you can incorporate eggs into your diet through savory quiches or delicious dessert custards.
Oily fish refers to fish that are packed with omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and sardines. These fish are not only excellent sources of protein, but the fatty acids they contain are also important for brain development and function. And that’s not all! Omega-3 fatty acids are not just good for your brain. They have been known to lower the risk of heart disease and arthritis too. Seared and served with a side of salad or mixed into your favorite pasta dishes and soups, there are many ways you can consume oily fish!
Vitamin K, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin E are just some of the nutrients found in leafy greens like kale and spinach. However, these are no ordinary nutrients as they can delay brain aging! Vitamin E is an antioxidant that’s known for slowing down cognitive deterioration due to its ability to protect cells from free radical damage. Vitamin K and beta carotene also improve memory and cognitive function. If you dislike vegetables, fear not! There are many delicious recipes that you can follow to make leafy greens more palatable. Try adding some to your smoothies or mix them into a casserole to bring out their flavors.