Research suggests that filling your day with brain-healthy activities may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. Naturally, nutrition is an important part of the equation. Paul Nussbaum, Ph.D., a clinical neuropsychologist and also a member of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, told the Huffington Post that, “[n]utrition is very, very important to brain health. Surprisingly, the brain is made up of 60% fat. Without that fat we slow down mentally.”
However, it’s the kinds of fats you consume that is the thing crucial to know — trans fats and sugars do not promote brain health. Rather, stick to foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants. Here’s a list of brain-healthy foods via the Huffington Post:
Walnuts, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts
Nuts are filled with Omega-3 fatty acids, i.e. the good kind of fat your brain craves. Walnuts in particular also contain vitamin E and flavonoids — a natural protectant of the brain.
Salmon, mackerel, sardines and other fatty fish
Like nuts, fish is also high in Omega-3s. Salmon can lower beta-amyloid levels in the blood (beta-amyloid is a protein thought to play a role in Alzheimers).In the article, Dr. Nussbaum recommends eating 8 oz. of fish per week. A fish oil supplement may also be an option.
Berries are ripe with antioxidants, which help stop inflammation and allows for optimal brain cell activity. Research has shown that berries can even reverse a slowdown in the brains ability to process information.
Spinach, kale and other leafy greens
Dark, leafy greens are chockfull of antioxidants and fiber and should be a staple in any healthy diet. They also have high levels of vitamin C, which has been linked to dementia prevention.
Turmeric, commonly found in curries, has a main active component of curcumin, which can help prevent Alzheimer’s. A study by researchers from UCLA found that when vitamin D3 is taken with curcumin, it may help the immune system flush plaque-forming amino acids in the brain associated with Alzheimers.
University of South Florida and University of Miami researches concluded that people over the age of 65 who consumed three cups of coffee per day developed Alzheimer’s disease two to four years later than those with lower caffeine levels. The research also found that caffeine had a positive impact in seniors with the early signs of Alzheimer’s, according to the article.
Chocolate (more specifically dark chocolate) contains flavonoids which can help combat heart disease. Flavonoids have also been linked to the slow down of dementia.
Are there any other brain healthy foods we missed? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.
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