By Christina Iaboni, RD
The brain is the most complex organ in our body. It controls our thoughts, feelings, memory, and so much more. The food that we eat affects the structure and function of our brain, so it is important to keep it healthy.
Here are 7 foods to eat for better brain health:
Blueberries are high in an antioxidant called flavonoids, which support brain health. Eating blueberries has been linked to lower cognitive decline and improvements in memory.
Eating berries at least twice a week is a component of the MIND diet. The MIND diet is a pattern of eating that has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia and slows the loss of brain function over time. The MIND diet focuses on eating plant-based foods such as green vegetables, berries, whole grains, nuts and beans. It limits animal-based foods as well as foods high in saturated and trans fats, such as fried foods and desserts.
Enjoy blueberries and other berries on their own as a snack, in oatmeal or mixed with yogurt.
Avocados have monounsaturated fats that support brain health and cognition. These fats have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that protect the brain from damage.
Half of an avocado also has almost 7g of fibre. Fibre helps to keep our gut healthy. Our gut and our brain are in constant connection through what is known as the “gut-brain axis” so getting enough fibre can help keep our brain healthy as well.
Enjoy avocados in guacamole, mashed on toast, or in a salad.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are an essential fat. They are called “essential” because our body cannot make them so we have to get them from the food we eat. Omega-3 helps ensure smooth communication between brain cells. Getting enough omega-3 has been linked to improvements in learning, memory and cognition. Omega-3 also acts as an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties that help protect the brain from damage.
Enjoy salmon, or other fatty fish such as trout, sardines, and mackerel at least twice a week.
4. Leafy green vegetables
Kale, spinach, broccoli, collards and Swiss chard have vitamins C and K, folate, and antioxidants such as beta-carotene. These nutrients help protect the brain from damage. Eating leafy greens daily is also part of the MIND diet.
Enjoy greens raw in a salad, blended in a smoothie, or lightly steamed or sauteed with olive oil for an easy side dish.
Walnuts have antioxidants, healthy fats and plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that help keep our brain sharp.
Enjoy a handful of walnuts and other nuts as a snack at least a few times a week.
Just one orange will provide you with the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect the brain. Oranges also contain folate which plays a role in brain function and our mood. Not getting enough folate has been linked with lower mood and depression, poor cognitive function and higher risk of dementia.
Try this roasted beet salad with orange and feta for a great way to enjoy oranges. This nutrient-rich salad will also give you a serving of leafy green vegetables.
Eggs are loaded with nutrients but they have one in particular, choline, which plays a strong role in brain development and function. Getting enough choline has also been linked with improvements in memory.
Use eggs in a frittata with your favourite green veggies for a brain boosting meal. Bottom line: The food we eat directly impacts the health of our brain. Enjoy whole, plant-based foods often and foods with omega-3 fats to protect our brain from damage and to keep it in tip-top shape
About Christina: Christina Iaboni is a registered dietitian and healthy living blogger. She aims to empower people to improve their health by eating nutritious foods. She also creates easy and affordable recipes that people can feel good about serving to their family. To check out her recipes, visit https://christinaiaboni.com/
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