Although scientists are still searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, recent research has revealed that certain lifestyle choices may help delay cognitive decline. Exercising regularly, getting a good night’s sleep, managing stress levels and keeping the brain stimulated all can help boost memory and cognition.
New research has also been conducted that focuses on the impact certain foods have on overall brain health. Alzheimer’s has been sometimes called “diabetes of the brain;” in diabetes, the body doesn’t use insulin as it should to keep blood glucose at the right levels, and high levels of insulin can also negatively affect brain cells and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. This suggests not only that there could be a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, but also that the same healthy diet needed to manage diabetes could also promote better brain health.
Brain Healthy Foods that Improve Memory and Cognition
With that in mind, adjusting eating habits can be vital for delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and improving overall memory and cognition. Cutting down on sugar first and foremost can reduce the dramatic spikes in blood sugar which affect the brain.
Try incorporating these five brain healthy foods into your daily or weekly diet:
Seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that is anti-inflammatory, and this healthy fat can reduce the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s disease. Fish, like salmon, tuna and mackerel, are all rich in omega-3 fats. Don’t like seafood? Try a fish oil supplement.
Blueberries, blackberries and cherries. Dark berries are known to be rich not only in antioxidants, but also flavonoids that can help boost memory function. Throw some blueberries on a salad or try blackberries mixed into your morning oatmeal. Even the frozen or dried versions are extremely beneficial!
Leafy green vegetables. Studies show that having even a mild iron deficiency can lead to problems with memory and attention. Adding more iron to your diet helps restore cognitive function, and dark leafy green veggies are packed full of iron. Plus, veggies like spinach, broccoli and kale are also full of vitamin E and folate, which can help lower an amino acid called homocysteine in the blood that may trigger the death of nerve cells in the brain.
Avocadoes. Foods rich in vitamin E are associated with decreasing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and the avocado is full of this rich antioxidant. Plus, they are also high in vitamin C! Try using avocado as a sandwich spread to replace mayonnaise.
Walnuts (and other nuts). Walnuts are already known for improving heart health, but they can also help improve memory. Plus, other nuts like peanuts, although high in fat, are a good source of healthy fats and are packed with vitamin E. Almonds and hazelnuts are good choices, too. Nuts make the perfect on-the-go snack, or can easily be tossed onto a salad or into cereal.
Adding these foods for brain health into your daily diet not only helps keep your mind functioning properly, but they’re also great for supporting lifelong health.