A healthy brain makes for a healthy body, right? Based on research by Harvard Medical School, the best foods for your brain are actually the ones that improve blood vessel and heart health. Taking steps to improve your diet now could mean a healthier brain later on—and could lower your risk of Alzheimer’s, brain cancer, or other diseases. Swapping out the steak for healthful salmon is an example of how easy it can be to make better choices for the health of your brain. Here are some foods you can consume to improve brain health.
Eat some walnuts
A UCLA study recently discovered that the consumption of walnuts was linked to improved test scores. Like other nuts, walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically ALAs, which have been seen to reduce blood pressure and protect arteries. Additionally, walnuts are high in Vitamin E, which by protecting cells from free radical damage, can reduce the rate of cognitive decline.
Try some salmon
Fatty fish is rich in omega-3s, which are the good fats your body needs for a healthy heart and brain. Omega-3s, which can also be found in flaxseed and avocados, have been proven to reduce levels of beta-amyloid in the blood, a protein linked to blood clots associated with Alzheimer’s disease. While too much fish can pose risks with the threat of mercury poisoning, incorporating fish into your diet two to three times a week could provide the omega-3s your body needs to stay healthy.
Pass the blueberries
Berries are full of lots of healthful vitamins, antioxidants, and flavonoids or plant pigments that have been shown to improve memory. Because flavonoids are linked to color, darker berries like blackberries and blueberries contain more concentrated amounts of the pigment. Blueberries, in particular, are also packed with anthocyanins, praised for their rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Go for the greens
Leafy green vegetables are packed with a multitude of vitamins that improve brain health. Foods like spinach, kale, collard greens, and broccoli have high amounts of folate, beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin K which aid brain function and can help to safeguard against memory decline. Try incorporating a spinach salad into lunch for an easy boost in brain health.
Don’t forget the coffee
Although caffeine gets a bad rap, every morning coffee drinker knows that it improves concentration and focus. Now there’s science to back the claim. Actually, coffee and tea drinkers were seen to have improved mental function and image recall than non-caffeine users, based on a 2014 study from The Journal of Nutrition. Coffee and tea are also rich in antioxidants that cleanse out harmful toxins like free radicals that accelerate the aging process.