Friday, January 30, 2015

What To Eat for A Sharper Healthier MInd

You are what you eat!

Can your diet make you smarter? You bet. Research shows that what you eat is one of the most powerful influences on everyday brain skills, says Cynthia Green, PhD, founder and director of the Memory Enhancement Program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and author of Brainpower Game Plan. Plus, the right foods may stave off Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The key? Rounding out your meals with key nutrients that (along with exercise and daily brain games like these) keep brain cells healthy and prevent brain-damaging inflammation. Your memory, attention span, and ability to learn will benefit from the healthful foods you choose.

The Best Foods For Your Brain

Fatty Fish
Seafood like salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, powerful and versatile nutrients that are essential for a healthy mind. About 40% of the fatty acids in brain cell membranes are DHA, one of the main omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil. Experts believe it’s probably necessary for transmitting signals between brain cells.

Research has found that people who ate fish 3 times a week and had the highest levels of DHA in their blood slashed their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 39%.

Eat it: At least twice a week (limit albacore tuna to no more than 6 ounces a week to minimize mercury exposure).

Leafy Green and Cruciferous Veggies
Pile salads, stir-fries, and side dishes with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, and brussels sprouts. They’re filled with antioxidants like vitamin C and plant compounds called carotenoids, which are particularly powerful brain protectors.

Antioxidants prevent damage from free radicals, which are waste products your body makes when cells use fuel to create energy. Your brain is especially vulnerable to damage from free radicals because it uses a lot of fuel (it’s only about 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy). Since your mind makes a lot of these toxic by-products, ample antioxidants help to disarm and defuse them.

While all antioxidants (from a variety of plants) are good for your brain, these cruciferous veggies are especially effective. A Harvard Medical School study of more than 13,000 women found that those who ate the most lowered their brain age by 1 to 2 years.

Eat it: Daily, as part of a well-rounded mix of other colorful veggies.

Avocado, Oils, Nuts, and Seeds
They all contain another important antioxidant: vitamin E. In one study, researchers found that people who consumed moderate amounts vitamin E - from food, not supplements - lowered their risk of AD by 67%.

Eat it: Frequently; shoot for 15 mg of E a day, the equivalent of 2 ounces of almonds.

Sweeten your brain-boosting diet with the dark kind (at least 70% cocoa); it contains flavonoids, another class of antioxidants that some research links to brain health. Other flavonoid-rich foods include apples, red and purple grapes, red wine, onions, tea, and beer.

Eat it: Frequently, as part of a healthy total calorie intake. Up to half an ounce daily has also been shown to lower blood pressure.

Thanks for reading,
Laurel ♥

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