Your brain controls every function in your body yet we rarely give it a second thought. And, few of us choose foods that protect or heal our brain. Here are some of the best foods for thought (literally):
1. Spinach—More than Just for Popeye
A study of middle-aged rats fed diets with added spinach, strawberry extract, or vitamin E for nine months found that spinach proved most potent in protecting nerve cells against the effects of aging in two parts of the brain. More research needs to be done but it looks like Popeye was building more than muscles when he ate spinach. (Try Ricotta Pasta with Fresh Spinach.)
2. Benefits of Blue for Grey Matter
Blueberries contain a group of plant nutrients called proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins have a unique capacity to protect both the watery and fatty parts of the brain against damage from some environmental toxins. Proanthocyanidins decrease free radical activity within and between brain cells. Blueberry proanthocyanidins have greater antioxidant properties than vitamins C and E. Blueberries appear to have some of the highest concentrations of these powerful antioxidants. In other studies, researchers found that compounds in blueberries may reverse some age-related memory loss and motor skill decline.
Blueberries are excellent anti-inflammatory agents. They increase the amounts of compounds called heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age, thereby causing inflammation and damage, particularly in the brain. By eating blueberries regularly, research shows that these heat-shock proteins stop declining and inflammation lessens, not to mention that they just taste fabulous.
Keep reading to discover the food that mops up free radicals before they can cause brain damage…