Top Foods to Eat to Protect Your Brain

eating leafy greens help reduce dementia risk

You’ve heard it a million times: Eat healthier for your heart, to prevent diabetes, for your joints. But what about your brain?

Research suggests that some of the foods you should be eating anyway can also help your mind stay sharp as you age. Even if you’re not inclined to follow the diet that can help you fight dementia, keep these four foods on your grocery list from now on. They’re an easy and delicious way to help prevent dementia.

1. Leafy greens.
Research published in Neurology found that people who ate green, leafy veggies every day had a slower rate of decline on memory tests and thinking skills than people who rarely or never ate them. How much should you eat for brain benefits? A single, daily serving. That’s a small salad with dinner – or a large handful of spinach on your homemade pizza.

2. Nuts
Add cognitive function to the list of nuts’ many health benefits. A large study of women age 70 or older found that those who consumed at least five servings of nuts every week scored better overall on cognitive tests than women who didn’t eat nuts. The research, published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, also suggested that walnuts may be especially beneficial.

3. Berries
A study from Harvard researchers, published in the Annals of Neurology, found that higher intakes of blueberries and strawberries may delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years. It’s true that cognitive decline is not the same as dementia. However, if you’re looking to preserve your memory as the years march forward, berries should be a regular part of your diet.

4. Fish
Mercury in fish has become a growing concern among seafood eaters. Don’t let that deter you: Research in JAMA found that mercury levels in the brain were not linked with brain abnormalities. The researchers also found a reduced risk of dementia-associated brain changes in certain people who ate seafood more than once a week. Now that you know what to eat – or at least eat more of – don’t negate the benefits by indulging in unhealthy foods. Diets high in saturated fats (major sources include red meat and butter) and diets high in carbohydrates have been linked to poorer memory.

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