Research shows that a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, olives, and nuts helps maintain brain health. Implementing these modifications into your routine is easier than you might think – here are a few easy tips:
1. Load your plates with fruits and vegetables: Spinach, kale, broccoli, and other leafy green vegetables are rich in many brain-loving nutrients. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are packed with antioxidants; they can potentially slow aging in the brain and elsewhere.
2. Reduce saturated fat: Try to reduce saturated fat in your diet and replace things like butter and lard with olive oil. Eating foods high in saturated fats, like red meat, butter, and dairy products, are harder for your body to break down and are associated with the development of degenerative diseases, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Eat eggs in moderation: The protein and vitamins B, D and E found in eggs and egg yolks may help to improve memory. You can reap the benefits of these vitamins while keeping your cholesterol to a minimum by mixing whole eggs with egg whites to round out your omelet or scrambled eggs.
4. Incorporate fish: Fish is a great source of Omega 3, the type of fatty acid your body cannot produce, and it is good for your brain. At least twice a week, eat five ounces of Omega 3-rich fish, such as salmon, cod, haddock, tuna, or halibut.
5. Eat plenty of whole grains: Oats, barley and quinoa are rich in many of the B vitamins that work to reduce inflammation of the brain.
6. Pass up the salt and sprinkle on the spices: Many herbs and spices such as cinnamon, ginger and turmeric are packed with flavor, plus antioxidants that may help decrease inflammation in the brain and body. We know that changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease begin to develop 20 years before the onset of symptoms, so it is never too early – or too late – to start implementing a brain healthy lifestyle.
For more information on diet and the six pillars of brain health, click here.