Worried about keeping your brain healthy as you get older?
The human brain is a highly complex structure that weighs in at only 3 pounds, but uses approximately 20% of the oxygen and 25% of the calories you consume. Since it uses so much energy, it’s important that you give it the best possible food to meet its nutritional needs.
It turns out that there are certain foods that have been proven to keep your brain healthy and your memory sharp, and may even slow down the normal cognitive decline that happens over time.
The tiny blueberry is an antioxidant that helps protect the brain and may reduce the effects of dementia. Free radicals are unattached oxygen molecules that attack your cells and trigger inflammation, which is a major cause of aging. Since your brain uses so much oxygen, it is highly susceptible to free radical damage.
Antioxidants render free radicals harmless. A study on rats found that diets rich in blueberries dramatically improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats. Berries in general are great at fighting that which free radicals damage. When they are out-of-season you can go for the frozen kind.
2. Leafy Greens
Cruciferous (cabbage) vegetables contain carotenoids and sulforaphane, both of which protect the brain. Studies have found that people who consume at least two servings of these every day, such as Swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and bok choy, may significantly slow down the process of aging.
Just like blueberries, these veggies also contain antioxidants that may help to protect against cancer by reducing the oxidative stress produced by oxygen-free radicals. Reducing these free radicals may lower the risk of colon, lung, prostate, breast and other cancers.
3. Oily Fish
Salmon is widely touted as “brain food,” but not if it’s farm-raised. Wild salmon are a great source of omega-3s, which happen to be one of the top nutrients your brain needs to function at its best. Omega-3s also build brain cell membranes and reduce inflammation, which have been found to slow down cellular aging.
These salmon get their omega-3s from the plankton and small crustaceans they eat, while farm-raised salmon are fed fish feed made from “undesirable” fish and “chicken pellets”. Other oily fish high in omega-3s include Arctic char, sardines and herring, all of which are also very low in mercury – a double bonus!
Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health, although since they are high in calories, you don’t want to overdo them. The avocado contains monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow, and that makes for a healthy brain.
Avocados also lower blood pressure, and since high blood pressure can impair cognitive abilities, lower blood pressure helps to keep the brain in top form. The fiber in avocados also reduces the risk of heart disease and bad cholesterol.
These are my particular favorites in brain super-foods, but in general the best way to get the nutrients your brain needs is to eat real, not processed food, and get your food from reliable sources.
Start planning your healthy brain diet right now!
All consumers should know how their food is made, including the brain foods listed above. Sign this petition to tell Congress to pass the GE Food Right to Know Act.
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