Top 5 foods improving brainpower

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Top 5 foods improving brainpower

To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” This very wise and aptly spoken quote from Buddha makes perfect sense today in a world where a greater percentage of our population is developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

We always hear talk about heart health but what about brain health?  Our brain needs our attention too and needs to be nourished and fed the right kind of foods to keep us thinking clearly, focused, feeling energetic and functioning at our best. 

As dementia and Alzheimer’s disease continue to rise in the United States with no cure in sight, the earlier we begin making healthy food choices, the better.  Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death with 5.3 million Americans living with this condition.  It is predicted that unless a cure is found, 16 million Americans will have the disease by 2050.

The brain needs adequate blood flow to enhance memory and cognitive thinking.  Many studies have been conducted demonstrating how a healthy diet with proper food choices does indeed make a remarkable difference in how we think and feel, giving us a brain boost we can benefit from.  By adding in foods to boost brain health, this is one way we can participate in keeping our brains healthy.

 5 brain boosting foods

1.     Go for the greens

It’s good to be green and it’s very good to eat greens.  Look in your food cart and see how many foods you choose that are green.  All that green means antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber and tons of important vitamins and nutrients.   The darker the green the better – choose spinach, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.  Include these foods in a stir-fry or try roasted for a delicious change of pace.

2.  Blueberries

Having a handful (at least) of blueberries each day is a great way to work on keeping your brain healthy.  This antioxidant packed berry helps support brain health increasing cognitive abilities.   Several studies, including a 2012 review, found regular consumption of blueberries may be one strategy to forestall or even reverse age-related neuronal deficits.  The polyphenolic compounds found in this sweet berry help lower oxidative stress and inflammation - they destroy free radicals that cause damage at the cellular level of all organs including brain cells. 

3.  Salmon

This deep-water fish is brimming with essential omega-3 fatty acids necessary for brain functioning.  Omega-3’s also contain anti-inflammatory substances protecting the brain keeping it mentally sharp.  A couple of fist-sized portions twice a week of salmon – canned or fresh – should be part of your healthy meal plan

4.  Avocados

This fatty fruit is loaded with good-for-you monounsaturated fat contributing to healthy blood flow leading to a healthy brain.  They also help lower blood pressure or hypertension which is a risk factor for the decline in cognitive abilities of the brain.  Even though high in calories, adding ¼ to ½ of an avocado each day is an easy way to fight off age-related changes keeping your brain sharp as a tack. 

5.  Nuts

Ever so popular, nuts are known for not only their heart healthy nutritional punch but now also for their brain health boost.  Thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids they contain, these fats are necessary for neuron growth and plasticity possibly fighting against age-related changes.  Our bodies do not make omega-3 fatty acids so they must be obtained from our diet.  One of the best sources of omega-3’s are walnuts.  Studies have shown walnuts to be associated with better memory scores and cognitive function.  The antioxidants in walnuts may help counteract age-related cognitive decline reducing the incidence of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.  Store walnuts in the refrigerator to keep the fats in them from going rancid