Food That Enhances Brain Function
As we age, our cognitive function can decline. You don’t have to allow this to happen. There are things you can do to improve brain function, from doing regular brain challenges to exercise and diet changes.
Here are some foods to include in your diet to help keep your brain healthy.
Brain Healthy Diets
Switching your diet to one that promotes cognitive vitality can help ward off a decline in cognitive function. Here are three diets that can help. As a bonus, they are also great for heart health!
- Mediterranean Diet: This diet is inspired by dietary habits in Greece, Southern Italy and Spain. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes food high in monounsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil, Omega-3 fatty acids in fish and nuts and fresh fruits and vegetables. You can find more information on the Mediterranean Diet here.
- The Dash Diet: This diet was created by the National Institute of Health to prevent and control hypertension. The diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean meat, nuts and beans. You can find more information on the Dash diet here.
- The Mind Diet: This diet was introduced in 2015 by Dr. Martha Clare Morris as a way to combine the best brain foods from the Mediterranean and Dash diets. This diet emphasizes leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and moderate amounts of alcohol (preferably wine). It suggests avoiding red meat, butter, cheese, pastries, sweets and fried foods.
Brain Healthy Foods
Sticking to a strict diet can be difficult if you are caring for someone else. Accept that you may not be able to be strict about your diet and try to incorporate some brain healthy foods into your existing diet to get the benefits.
- Whole grains
- Oily fish/Omega-3 Oils (flax seed, soya beans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and kipper)
- Vitamins (B6, B12, folic acid)
- Vitamin C (blackcurrants, red pepper, citrus, broccoli)
- Vitamin E (nuts, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs)
In general, eating a brain healthy diet can increase your overall health, which is ideal for you long term. Many caregivers suffer from health problems for up to three years after they are no longer a caregiver. Putting your own health needs on the back burner for the long term can be detrimental to your health. I know you don’t need a lecture, you know what is best for you, so hopefully making small changes to your diet can help with your health maintenance.