As we age, our bodies age, including our brain. Unfortunately, getting older is inevitable, but through the lifestyle choices we make, we can maintain a healthy, “younger” brain into our older age. Staying sharp as a knife is important, because this organ is the control center of our bodies. Our brains control the way we move, how we breathe, how we feel and think, how we process information, and it keeps our other organs functioning. It’s vital to keep our brain at its best.
One way to keep ourselves sharp is through our diet. Just like there are heart-healthy diets, there are “brain foods,” which are foods that nourish our brain and help us with memory, concentration, and better our ability to complete mental and physical tasks. Our brain needs protein, carbohydrates, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids to function properly.
Below, I wanted to share with you some foods that can help boost your brain’s power and keep your sharper for longer.
- Fatty Fish – Fish have been known to be “brain food.” More specifically, fatty fish helps the brain; fatty fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, trout and sardines. The brain is about 60 percent fat, and half of that is omega-3 fat. The brain uses this fat to build brain and nerve cells, which helps with learning, mood, and memory. This fat also helps slow down age-related brain atrophy, and people who eat more fish have more gray matter in their brains (gray matter houses most the nerve cells that control memory, emotion, and decision making).
- Blueberries – Blueberries deliver anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Antioxidants help fight off an aging brain and neurodegenerative diseasing by control oxidative stress and inflammation. Antioxidants counter the aging effects of oxidation generated from cellular metabolism.
- Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate is filled with caffeine, antioxidants, and flavonoids (antioxidant plant compounds). Flavonoids help enhance memory and slow down age-related mental decline. Chocolate is also known to help improve a person’s mood by increasing positive feelings in the brain.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is filled with antioxidants, compounds that provide anti-inflammatory effects, and vitamin K, which helps form sphingolipids (type of fat that’s heavily packed into brain cells). High consumption of vitamin K have been linked to better memory.
- Coffee – Coffee is filled with caffeine and antioxidants that can contribute to the following benefits to the brain: better mood, better concentration, lower average blood pressure and higher alertness. Coffee consumption is also associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Turmeric – Turmeric’s active compound curcumin is loaded with antioxidants and is known for its anti-inflammatory effects, along with improving memory, decreasing depression symptoms, and helping new brains cells to grow.
Other brain foods include: dark leafy greens, peanuts, peanut butter, red wine, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, oranges, green tea, eggs, avocado, whole grains.
To improve your overall brain health, it is essential to adds the above-mentioned foods into your diet to help you with memory, mood, and protect your brain from degenerative damage. If you want to learn more about improving your brain health or are worried your diet isn’t nutrient-filled, contact Dr. Kordonowy at Internal Medicine, Lipids, and Wellness in Fort Myers at 239-362-2005, Ext. 200.