By Pamela Harding, Natural Solutions
Can some foods really make you more intelligent, have smarter kids, improve your memory, help you think more clearly, and perhaps even forestall the onset of those so-called “senior moments”–or worse, dementia?
The answer is yes, provided you take a balanced, holistic approach to nutrition and don’t get hung up on magic-bullet thinking–the belief that eating specific foods–or even supplements of isolated components found in some foods–is going to instantly boost your brain power or make your kid a genius.
“It’s all about balance and moderation,” says Patrick Sullivan, PhD, Associate Professor, Geriatrics, at Duke University’s Department of Medicine. Sullivan says that so-called brain foods also deliver nutrients that are good for your heart, liver, and kidneys. “The body was designed to use a variety of building blocks in foods to maintain optimal health overall–not to use one for the brain or heart or one specifically for the kidney,” he explains. “You really need to regularly eat a variety of foods that are good for you.”
Another important message: Start early. “Much of the discussion of nutrition and brain health is linked with infants and kids–the sooner good nutrition comes into play in a person’s life, the better the payout,” says Susan Moores, RD, a nutrition expert in St. Paul, Minnesota. She stresses the importance of good nutrition even before a woman becomes pregnant. It’s never too late to improve your diet, says Moores. However, if you don’t adopt a healthy diet until you’re 65, you probably won’t get “nearly as big a benefit as if you had started earlier.”
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