7 Best Foods For Your Brain (and Why)
By Kate Gardner
When we think about eating healthy, we usually focus on how it affects our heart. But what we eat also has a big impact on our brain and how well it works as we age. Fortunately, brain health is much like heart health. Eating for a healthy brain emphasizes foods that protect blood vessels and fight inflammation. WebMD.com talks with Dr. Ann Kulze, author of Dr. Ann's 10-Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality for a list of the best brain foods.
Blueberries are easy to eat and so very, very good for you! Studies show that eating blueberries can protect your brain against oxidative stress -- when free radicals in your brain cells outnumber antioxidants, causing damage. Add a cup of fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried fruit to your day!
Salmon is full of omega-3 essential fatty acids which are important for brain health and have anti-inflammatory properties. Eat a 4-ounce portion of wild-caught varieties of salmon two or three times per week, if you can. Brush olive oil on before cooking for a double health boost!
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in Vitamin E, which has been linked to less age-related cognitive decline. Roasted or raw, just about any variety of nut or seed is good for you, though WebMD cautions you to look for unsalted if you're trying to reduce sodium in your diet. Eat about 1 ounce per day of your favorite kind.
Smooth and creamy, avocados contain monounsaturated fat, which reduces bad cholesterol and is good for your arteries, whether they're in your heart or your brain! Avocados can also help lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for greater cognitive decline. Aim for a quarter to a half an avocado each day.
Whole grains, like whole wheat and brown rice, are good for your heart. Fiber-rich whole grains can lower your bad cholesterol and protect your arteries. As we keep seeing, if it's good for your heart, it's probably also good for your brain!
You can do so many things with beans, from hummus to soup! Beans have the added bonus of being inexpensive and, like whole grains, are full of artery-healthy fiber. Try working a half cup into your daily menu!
The antioxidants found in pomegranate juice fight oxidative stress, like blueberries. As they go about their business, your body's cells naturally produce free radicals, according to Healthline.com. These free radicals can bounce around, causing damage unless they're paired with antioxidants.
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