You already know that the foods you eat carry a significant impact for your health. But we’re not just talking about fending off diabetes or preventing cancer; your diet also influences brain health. In particular, research has shown that certain dietary choices can boost cognitive function and even prevent dementia.
Include these five foods in your diet to reap their protective qualities for your brain.
Fish. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish have long been linked to brain health. In particular, choose fatty fish like tuna or salmon.
Berries. All fruits pack a nutritious punch to your diet, but berries in particular are terrific choices. Snack on these nutrient-dense foods, toss a few into a smoothie, add them to salads, and enjoy preserves on toast or muffins.
Nuts. Nuts are another great source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as other nutrients which prevent inflammation and protect the brain. You can add them to salads, muffins, or oatmeal, or simply snack on a handful of raw nuts. Walnuts are especially good for you, but almonds, pecans, and pistachios are other great choices.
Leafy greens. Foods like kale and spinach have been shown to prevent cognitive decline, adding potentially years to your mental health. Include these in your diet wherever possible. Remember, you can toss spinach into an omelette or add dark green lettuce (not iceberg) to a burger. It’s not all about salads (although those are terrific too).
Cocoa. Who would’ve thought that chocolate can be good for you? But it’s true! The flavonoids in chocolate protect your memory and might even prevent damage to the brain. Just remember to watch out for chocolate desserts that are heavy on sugar. Add cocoa powder to smoothies or opt for a couple ounces of dark chocolate bar.
And of course, remember to discuss your diet with your primary care physician at each check-up. He or she can make other recommendations to address your health concerns.