5 of the best foods to boost your brain health

  • 3 Minutes Read
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Have you ever wondered what some of the best foods are for brain health? While there isn't one magic food or supplement that will save your brain, including these foods and drinks in your diet is a great place to start.

Best foods for brain health

Tea drinking supports brain health

Second to water, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage around the world. Brewed tea (not the powdered kind) contains several compounds that have positive effects on brain health. Most people are familiar with caffeine and its impact on cognitive performance. In addition, tea contains L-theanine which has been shown to positively impact mood by impacting levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. It can leave you feeling relaxed and yet not drowsy. Green tea contains polyphenols which benefit the body in several ways. One polyphenol in tea is epigallocatechin gallate abbreviated (EGCG). Research has shown that this polyphenol has powerful antioxidant effects, reducing cellular stress and inflammation.

The healthiest way to consume tea is plain, without added sugar or milk, so as not to add extra calories and/or fat. Next time you want something different to drink, try a cup of brewed tea.

Fatty fish- One of the best foods for brain health

Diets high in omega 3 fatty acids (in particular docosahexaenoic aid or DHA) may aid in the prevention of cognitive decline that comes with aging. Omega 3 fatty acids are abundant in cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines. One study in particular showed that consuming fish prevented cognitive decline especially in individuals who were APOE4 carriers. Thus fish consumption might be even more important in people who have a certain genetic make up. The benefits of omega 3 fatty acids do not stop with brain health. In fact, omega 3s may provide a wide range of health benefits when it comes to cardiovascular disease, asthma and arthritis, etc. Need some new ideas of ways to prepare fatty fish? Here is a recipe for a tasty pickled herring salad with arugula- Pickled-Herring-Salad.

Blueberries are truly a brain superfood

If you need another reason to eat more blueberries, then look no further. These tasty and low calorie fruits are rich in a phytochemical called flavonoids. Blueberries may help protect the brain from free radical damage. Also compounds in blueberries have been shown to decrease inflammation. Here's a quick and easy oatmeal recipe that is sweetened primarily with blueberries and a small amount of pure maple syrup. Maple Oatmeal

Consume whole grains for brain health

Don't shy away from carbohydrates if you want to keep your brain healthy. While the brain is the fattiest organ in the body, it's preferred fuel source is glucose. All types of carbohydrates break down into glucose in the body. The healthiest choices of carbohydrates are whole grains, grains where the germ, bran and endosperm are intact. Think quinoa, barley, oats, brown rice, etc. By choosing whole grains you will be providing your brain and body with important vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber to maintain health. Want to learn more about whole grains? Check out this blog post from MyNetDiary.com

Water is a brain superfood

Many people know that water is important for overall health. And yet so many of my clients get busy during the day and forget to drink water. If you are looking for an easy way to ensure optimal brain performance make it a priority to meet your daily water needs. Since the brain is composed of a lot of water (upwards of 75%) even mild dehydration has been shown to impair attention and memory. In a small study looking at golf players, mild dehydration (classified as -1-2% change in body mass) negatively impacted accuracy, distance and distance judgement.

Not sure how many ounces of liquids you are consuming in a day? MyNetDiary makes it easy to keep track of how much water you've consumed. On the left side of your dashboard under steps you'll see a water glass icon. Simply tap on this icon to set a daily water goal and track your intake.

In conclusion

Including these brain superfoods in your diet is a good place to start when it comes to brain health. If you want to know more about the healthiest diet plan to follow for your brain you'll want to look into the Mediterranean Diet. This type of eating plan is characterized by a high intake of olive oil (rich in monounsaturated fat), veggies, fruits, plant proteins, fish, whole grains and a moderate intake of red wine. Numerous controlled and observational studies have linked this diet plan with not only a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, but also a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. To learn more about this style of eating check out MyNetDiary's blog posts on the Mediterranean diet plan.

Nutrients->Antioxidants Nutrients->Other Vitamins & Minerals
Jan 27, 2020

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