By Marc Courtiol
For anyone over 30, the effects of aging can be felt in a number of ways, perhaps none more frustrating than those affecting brain health. Slow thinking, difficulty remembering, poor concentration, inability to multitask-all are natural symptoms of declining brain health. But do we have to accept them? Can good habits and a healthy diet slow or even reverse the brain’s aging process? With everything we now know about nutrition, it is looking more and more possible to keep the brain running smoothly well into one’s golden years, but it may require changing some habits. If you are interested in boosting your brain health, here are a few foods to consider eating regularly.
1. Wild salmon: According to modern nutritionists, there are few foods in the world more healthy than salmon. It benefits virtually every bodily system, and it is particularly good for the brain. With its combination of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins, salmon helps keep the brain running smoothly, and it may even reduce the risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s. If you want to incorporate salmon into your diet, make sure it is ethically harvested wild salmon.
2. Berries: Blueberries have been termed one of the world’s greatest superfoods due to their abundance of antioxidants and vitamins that produce tremendous benefit for the brain. And if you are not a fan of blueberries, plenty other types of berries have similar benefits-including acai berries, blackberries, and raspberries. Cherries are also quite good. In any event, blueberries and acai berries in particular are highly recommended for boosting brain health.
3. Coffee: It seems like every week there is a new study about either the benefits or the drawbacks of coffee, and these mixed signals have led to widespread confusion over whether this caffeinated beverage is actually good for us or not. To put it simply: Yes, there are some drawbacks to overindulging in coffee, but in moderate amounts the drink has been shown to reduce the risk of numerous aging-related brain diseases. It is also a great source of antioxidants, which are among the biggest brain-boosters out there.
4. Walnuts: Have you ever noticed that walnuts look a bit like tiny brains? Surely it is just a coincidence, but the resemblance can help us remember that walnuts are one of the best foods for brain health due to their great supply of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. And for anyone who does not love walnuts, other tree nuts such as almonds, pecans, and Brazil nuts have similar nutritional profiles. However, be careful to consume these in moderation, as they can be quite fattening if you eat too much.
5. Whole grains: Whole grains help promote cardiovascular health, which increases bloodflow to the brain and thus promotes brain health. For an extra boost, seek out whole grains that are also high in protein and vitamins. Quinoa, for example, is a perfect whole grain because it is a complete protein and contains lots of vitamins and dietary fiber to boot.
6. Dark chocolate: In moderation, dark chocolate contains a healthy dose of antioxidants, and it also has natural stimulants that increase bloodflow to the brain and improve focus. As a bonus, dark chocolate also improves mood. But not all chocolate fits the mold. Go with the relatively natural and unprocessed varieties.
7. Dark green vegetables: Most dark green vegetables-including broccoli, dark leafy greens, and Brussels sprouts-contain an abundance of brain-health-stimulating vitamins. And although it is not dark green, cauliflower also fits into the category of vitamin-rich vegetables.