The Best Food to Keep Your Brain Sharp
A mild decline in cognitive function is considered a natural part of aging. Therefore, we can expect these cognitive skills to slow down and weaken slightly as we age. Typically, age-related cognitive decline impairs attention, memory, and reasoning speed.
Dementia, or a deterioration in cognitive ability severe enough to interfere with daily life, on the other hand, is not a normal part of aging. Although Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia cannot be prevented, there are some steps you can take to delay the decline and keep your brain functioning efficiently for as long as possible.
Healthy nutrition is one of the best ways to protect your health. Moreover, studies suggest that the food we eat can affect the brain. For example, poor diet for a person with AD/D may affect the brain’s ability to think and remember, increasing cognitive impairment, mood issues, and behavioral problems.
On the other hand, a balanced diet can help keep the brain sharp. Here are some eating patterns that can make a difference to your cognitive abilities and overall well-being.
Diet and the Risk of Dementia
Some Alzheimer’s risk factors, such as age and heredity, cannot be avoided. However, changes in the brain can occur years before the first symptoms of dementia arise. Spotting these early signs of dementia can help you manage your lifestyle choices, such as healthy food, exercise, cognitive training, and social engagement to avoid or delay the onset of the symptoms.
Research indicates that the food we eat may impact our cognitive abilities. Namely, it is believed that certain nutrients can prevent the inflammation and oxidative stress that cause Alzheimer’s disease.
A healthy diet can also help prevent or reduce other risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. So, what food should you eat to keep your mind sharp and your brain working efficiently?
Eating Healthy for Your Brain
The evidence from various studies suggests that a Mediterranean diet rich in seafood, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and whole grains might help slow down cognitive decline and reduce the risk for dementia.
So, to keep your mind sharp, include the following nutrients in your diet:
- Fresh vegetables (orange vegetables and leafy greens).
- Fruit (flavonoids in the berries can improve memory).
- Whole-grain foods (whole-wheat pasta, bread, crackers, or rice).
- Nuts (nuts are high in plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids, which might help you maintain a healthy heart and keep your brain sharp).
- Dairy that is low-fat or fat-free.
- Lean meat (skinless chicken, turkey, and red meat with the fat removed).
- Seafood and fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, and tuna) can prevent or slow the loss of brain cells and lower the risk of getting dementia.
- Lentils and beans (black beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans are high in fiber, antioxidants, protein, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, and vitamin B essential to keep the brain healthy)
- Eggs (a good source of protein, Omega-3 acids, and vitamins A, E, and D)
At the same time, make sure to avoid processed foods high in empty calories, such as baked goods, chips, soda, candy, and alcohol. Also, avoid foods heavy in saturated and trans-fat, sweets, preservatives, and sodium (salt).
A person’s dietary habits usually change as their dementia worsens. Poor appetite in people with Alzheimer’s is typically caused by a decreased sense of smell and taste, an inability to recognize food, or forgetfulness (people with Alzheimer’s often forget to eat).
As a result, supplements, vitamins, and minerals can help you get the nutrition you need while also keeping your mind sharp.
Supplements and vitamins are thought to help keep the brain healthy, even though there isn’t enough scientific evidence to be sure about the benefits.
Dietary add-ons and alternative supplements such as CBD, Lion’s mane mushroom, kombucha, and Mate tea have strong antioxidant potential, which could help reduce the risk of developing AD/D or slow down the decline in cognitive function.
For example, some preclinical trials suggest that Lion’s mane might reduce inflammation that causes Alzheimer’s, improve cognition, and increase a protein that increases the length of nerve cell processes.
It can be difficult for people with AD/D to maintain a healthy diet and good eating habits. Education on the link between diet and dementia can help you make the best decisions. A professional can also help you stay on track with a nutritious diet to slow down cognitive loss and maintain excellent health for as long as possible.