Foods that Age-Proof Your Brain
“Brain fog” is a fairly common experience: most of us have had days when we can’t concentrate, much less remember where we left our cell phone and car keys. In most cases, a brain-boosting snack or a few minutes of rest and relaxation is all it takes to restore normal brain functions. But for some people, symptoms like confusion, forgetfulness, and trouble thinking or understanding become more frequent (and more serious) as they age. Several studies have shown that eating certain nutrient-dense foods can help protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of mental and cognitive decline. Help keep your mind sharp with these good-for-you ingredients.
We’re all familiar with the roles that sleep, exercise, and mental activity play in keeping our brains healthy. Living a physically active lifestyle, engaging in mentally stimulating activities that promote continued learning, and getting plenty or rest at night can help ward of the effects of an aging brain. it’s less often that we hear about the anti-aging effects of vitamin- and nutrient-dense foods, but adding certain ingredients to our diets can go a long way in helping to age-proof our brains.
Not surprisingly, a balanced diet rich in whole and wholesome foods — fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein — provides our brains with the nutrition they need to stay healthy. If you’re looking to give your brain an extra measure of protection against Alzheimer’s and dementia, try cooking more often with ingredients that are rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin E, soluble fiber, and healthy fats. Studies show that these nutrients may reduce some of the negative effects of an aging brain.
Almonds are rich in vitamin E: an antioxidant that has shown some success in slowing rates of cognitive decline. Consuming excessive amounts of vitamin E can have negative effects, so skip the supplements and get your vitamin E from food instead. Click here to see our best almond recipes.
There is a possibility that folate deficiency is a contributing factor to dementia, so make sure you’re getting enough in your diet. Since one cup of avocado has almost a third of your recommended daily intake, you should feel free to indulge in this “good” fat. Click here for our best avocado recipe.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.