8 foods that promote a healthy brain

Sunrise Senior Living  |  October 4, 2016
Certain vitamins, minerals and other naturally occurring compounds are critical for good cognitive health. By eating the right foods, you can make sure you're giving your body what it needs.
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Promote a healthy brain by eating the right foods to make sure you're giving your body what it needs.

Your brain requires a lot of energy to function at its best, and this means fueling it with the best food. By incorporating these items, you can promote good brain health:

1. Fish
The acids and fats contained in fish are very beneficial, especially compared to those found in red meat or poultry. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular are found in abundance in fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines. According to the BBC, high levels of these fatty acids may limit memory loss, help manage stress and lead to the production of serotonin, a natural mood elevator. Linseed, soy beans and pumpkin also contain these beneficial fatty acids.

2. Avocados
Like fish, avocados are full of the "good" types of fats that work to keep blood sugar in check, the San Francisco Gate reported. This stability is important for brain function. Vitamin K and folate are also found in avocados, which can minimize the risk of stroke and lead to better cognitive performance overall. Avocados also have vitamin B, vitamin C, plenty of protein and the lowest amount of sugar of any fruit, and they become a healthy option.

3. Nuts
Different types of nuts contain protein and can promote good cardiovascular health. Walnuts and almonds in particular can be beneficial and have high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The vitamin E contained in nuts is thought to prevent dementia.

4. Broccoli
The BBC stated that broccoli is full of vitamin K, which is key for improving brain power. Likewise, glucosinolates - a compound found in high concentration in broccoli - stops the breakdown of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This is essential for a strong nervous system. Further, low levels of acetylcholine have been found in individuals living with Alzheimer's. Have broccoli as a mid-day snack or incorporate it into larger meals.

5. Whole grains
While store-bought white bread and other items can be loaded with sugars and devoid of nutrients, whole grain breads and other items have plenty of fiber and other essentials. Health Magazine found that when integrated into a rich, well-rounded diet, whole grains are helpful for promoting good cognitive health. Likewise whole grain breads and pastas are a way to make healthy dishes a little more dynamic and exciting.

6. Beets
Between reducing inflammation and ridding your blood of harmful toxins, beets are one of the most nutritious foods available. The nitrates found in beets boosts blood flow and energy levels, and the colorful root vegetables are also full of antioxidants that can fight off disease.

7. Blueberries
Blueberries are also rich in antioxidants, and these delicious little fruits have been linked to improved memory and cognitive abilities. Red or purple colored fruits and vegetables often contain anthocyanins, a protective compound that can reduce inflammation and boost the body's defense against viruses. Try snacking on blueberries during the day or otherwise add them to a salad or other side for larger meals.

8. Turmeric
This ancient spice has been used for thousands of years in the Middle East and South Asia for its powerful health benefits. Curcumin, which is found in abundance in turmeric, is one of nature's strongest tools in reducing inflammation. Likewise, turmeric can promote oxygen intake in the brain, which is critical for staying alert and high-functioning.

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