Here’s an overview of the best types of food for keeping your brain healthy. Also, since a healthy brain needs a healthy heart, these foods are also good for your heart!
Cold Water Fish
Fish is good brain food. Salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, and trout all contain robust levels of Omega-3. Omega-3s include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). A recent study found that even in mid-life, lower levels of DHA and EPA in red blood cells was associated with accelerated brain aging and lower brain volume, along with subtle signs of memory and cognitive impairment. So dig in to a fish dinner once or twice a week!
Fruit & Berries
Most berries contain high levels of antioxidants, which have many health benefits, ranging from reduced cancer rates to heart health and brain health. Blueberries and cranberries contain the most antioxidants, pound for pound. Also, citrus fruits, especially oranges and grapefruit, have been shown to reduce the risk of ischemic stroke in older adults.
Nuts, Seeds and Beans
For those who have a taste or smell aversion to any kind of fish, some seeds and nuts also contain high levels of Omega-3. Flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts top the list for non-fish Omega-3 sources. Also, the lowly bean, specifically kidney, pinto, and black beans are loaded with antioxidants.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Also looking for high vegetable sources of antioxidents? Red & yellow peppers, artichokes, and the dependable russet potato should be on the grocery list.
Chocolate lovers rejoice! Dark chocolate is a super food that has powerful antioxidant properties, contains several natural stimulants like caffeine and also stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood. Recent studies also suggest that regular consumption of small amounts of dark chocolate helps reduce average body mass index (BMI); in other words it encourages your body to shed some weight.
Coffee and Tea
The obvious reason that people consume over 8 million metric tons of coffee beans each year is for the caffeine, which metabolises primarily into paraxanthine. Paraxanthine raises epinephrine levels in the bloodstream, priming both our body and brain for increased activity.
Coffee beans and many types of teas are also full of antioxidents. It turns out that many people receive almost all of their antioxidents from drinking coffee, with tea and bananas a distant second and third choice. While coffee is a reasonable option for antioxidant intake, vegetables and fruits are also good choices.
Moderate Alcohol Use
A daily glass of wine, beer or spirits has been shown in several long term studies to reduce the risk of stroke, and also provide some protection against Alzheimer’s and other dementias. A very important point is the definition of moderate alcohol consumption, which is typically defined as between 10 grams and 15 grams of pure alcohol each day. A glass of wine contains about 13 grams of alcohol, as a reference point.