As we age, so do our brains, but by adding these “smart” foods to our diet – we can boost our brain power and increase our chances of maintaining a healthy functioning brain all the way into later life…
A well known superfood, blueberries have proven to be supportive of brain function as they protect it from oxidative stress. Studies have also shown that one cup of blueberries a day (fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried) is effective in reducing the effects of age-related conditions including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A blueberry-rich diet may also improve motor skills and learning capacity of older people.
Salmon, and other deep-water fish, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are vital for brain power. Salmon in particular is great for brain health due to its “cleanliness” and plentiful supply in the wild. Although other fish rich in omega-3s include herring and sardines – and a 4-ounce serving twice a week is enough to keep your brain functioning to its best potential.
This fruit is often overlooked due to its fatty contents, but it’s a monounsaturated fat which promotes healthy circulation; and a good circulation means a healthy brain. Not to mention their unique ability to lower blood pressure which is beneficial to brain health as hypertension is a common risk factor when the cognitive abilities decline. However, avocados are notoriously calorific, so don’t eat more than half of one a day.
Nuts and seeds
Being rich in vitamin E makes nuts and seeds great for maintaining brain health; higher levels of the vitamin align with less cognitive decline as you age. Each day, try to include an ounce of nuts and seeds in your diet; walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds are all good options. You can also reap the same benefits from unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter. However, try to avoid buying salted nuts.
Beans are effective is stabilising blood sugar levels (glucose), and the brain depends on glucose for fuel. However, the brain isn’t capable of storing it and therefore requires a steady stream of energy – and glorious beans are here to provide that! Black beans and lentils are the most effective, and a 1/2 cup serving every day is advised.
Pomegranates offer potent antioxidants that benefit brain function. Free radicals (which are molecules related to human disease such as cancer) often inflict the most damage to the brain, and brainy foods such as pomegranate is great at preventing this from happening. However, pomegranate juice has added sugar, so a serving of 2 ounces a day should not be exceeded.
Brain power aside, are you a spicy food enthusiast? Then we’ve got some good news for you…