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5 Brain Foods Most People Aren’t Eating Enough of

  • Category: Blog, Healthy Habits
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  • Written By: Dawn Davoli, Registered Dietitian
5 Brain Foods Most People Aren’t Eating Enough of

As we age, it’s likely we become more interested in keeping our memory sharp and our brain healthy. Research shows that certain foods can play a positive role in overall mind health. The MIND diet, which is an acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, does just that by improving cognitive function and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s/dementia by 53%. That’s pretty impressive! This lifestyle eating plan is high in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, B vitamins, flavonoids, lutein and beta carotene and translates them into brain healthy foods. The nutrients in these foods have been shown to slow down aging of the brain, therefore lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s/dementia. Recent studies reveal that most people aren’t eating enough of certain brain boosting foods. Adding the following 5 brain foods can sharpen your memory and help your brain work efficiently!

  • Nuts and Seeds. These plant-based sources of omega 3 fatty acids, protein and fiber are essential for mental fitness, reduced inflammation and improved cognition. They also provide a steady, sustained source of energy which makes them the perfect snack. Healthy examples include: walnuts, cashews, almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.
  • Dark Chocolate. Popular for it’s relaxing and aphrodisiac properties, dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidant flavanols and prebiotic fiber that supports gut and brain health! Choose a chocolate that is least 70 % cacao, opt for raw types if possible and a nibble (1/3 of an ounce) is all you need to reap the benefits.
  • Avocados. A delicious and versatile brain food loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, magnesium, vitamins C, E and antioxidants is full of flavor and creamy texture. It is the perfect addition to salads, smoothies, soups and toast, or enjoyed alone topped with black pepper and lemon juice.
  • Leafy Greens. A MIND Diet staple that is loaded with folate, that reduces depression symptoms, and fiber, for a healthy gut. Skip the iceberg lettuce and choose spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, kale, romaine, watercress, mustard greens or dandelion greens. Make these the base of your next salad.
  • Berries. Naturally high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, these little fruits fight inflammation, support a healthy gut, improve mood and prevent cognitive decline. A healthy gut is a healthy mind! Aim for 2 or more half cup servings weekly of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or strawberries.

Dawn Davoli

Dawn Davoli, Registered Dietitian is a frequent presenter at the Excela Health Mall Walkers program and also provides education through public speaking engagements and the school-based program “Healthy Habits”.