It is a fact that food is medicine, and we are what we eat. However, many people don’t realize that the phrase “brain food” is real. You really can eat to improve your mind.
Every day we hear news about some public figure or someone in our family or social circle experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s. According to the website usagainstalzheimers.org, “About 6.2 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Of the total U.S. population, more than 1 in 9 people (11.3%) age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s. By 2050, 12.7 million Americans 65 and older will have Alzheimer’s.” Note, these figures are for Alzheimer’s alone and do not include other forms of dementia.
Looking at these figures it is understandable why The Economist has referred to dementia as a “global emergency.” However, none of us need to accept this as our fate, or even an unavoidable part of longevity. There are things we can do to keep our minds sharp. Among those things, we can eat to improve our mind.
While many foods are healthy and good for you, there are some in particular that will help keep this key organ, your brain, in top working condition.
Let’s start with dessert first. Dark chocolate that has a 70% or greater cocoa content contains flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants that help with memory and learning, and actually help slow down the process of mental decline. Studies have shown improved cognitive function after eating dark chocolate.
Still got a sweet tooth? Berries and cherries have anti-inflammatory properties and contain antioxidants along with a lot of vitamin C and E. They protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals.
In terms of main courses, eat folate to improve your cognition. Foods high in folate include leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collards, and mustard greens. Beans and legumes are also high in folate, as well as choline, a type of B vitamin, that boosts brain function. Folate is also found in cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli. But don’t think that these foods contain folate alone. They also contain other vitamins, amino acids, and iron that help with brain function and cognition.
People who eat foods high in omega 3s on a daily basis have been shown to have 26% less risk of having brain lesions that cause dementia compared with those who do not. Omega 3s are fatty acids found in foods including oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, and tuna), flax and other seeds, nuts, and olive oil.
Spice Things Up
Worried about your memory? Focus on breaking up brain plaque and reducing inflammation by hitting the spice rack. Your best bets include cumin, turmeric, sage, and cinnamon.
Thirsty? Try green tea for a change. It’s been found to improve mental clarity and cognitive function.
The good news is, you can control what you put into your body, and the choices you make can support your desire for healthy longevity. These foods – and many others – will support your brain health as well as overall health. By choosing organic and avoiding neurotoxins you will be doing your best to avoid the chemicals that directly affect your brain and nervous system.
Food for Thought
While the right foods will go a long way in protecting your brain health, there are other lifestyle issues that can still create problems. Lack of movement, birth trauma, and a host of other everyday experiences that require professional intervention.
Here’s some food for thought. Are you really doing all you can to keep your mind and body going strong? To truly optimize your well-being and keep your brain, spine, and nervous system functioning at peak capacity, schedule an appointment with a 100 Year Lifestyle provider near you. Start living your 100% for 100 years or more…today!