Foods to fuel your brain
Ever find that you can’t remember things as well as you used to? Or that it takes a little longer to find the word you’re looking for? Growing older not only affects us physically, but cognitively, too. The good news is that by adjusting your diet to include some of the following foods, you can help to improve your brain function and memory.
1. Oily fish
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and cod (all of which have low levels of mercury) are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been shown to improve not only memory, but recall speed, too. According to Health.harvard.edu, brain-boosting unsaturated fats like these “have been linked to lower blood levels of beta-amyloid—the protein that forms damaging clumps in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.” To get the maximum benefit from these fatty acids, try to include oily fish in your diet at least twice a week.
We all know it’s important to get our daily dose of greens and here’s why: broccoli, along with other leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, have been linked to a deceleration in cognitive decline. And it’s all thanks to “brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene.” (Health.harvard.edu) Best of all, broccoli is incredibly versatile and tastes equally delicious added raw to a light summer salad, or cooked in a warm winter soup or stew.
Nuts have a number of health benefits, from providing the body with protein, vitamin E and healthy fats to improving memory. One study found that walnuts, which are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, are especially good for cognitive function. And while you can simply grab a handful of nuts each morning, they’re also delicious chopped into overnight oats, sprinkled over salad or fruit salad, or added to seeds as a healthy mid-morning or afternoon snack.
This versatile red fruit is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that one study has linked to a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease mortality in adults. Lycopene is also found in several other fruits, including watermelons, guavas and pink grapefruit, but the majority of the lycopene we get in our diets comes from cooked tomatoes, tomato juice and tomato sauce. So, remember to add this fruit to your weekly shopping list.
One fascinating study found that, “Greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline,” which is excellent news, not only for your brain, but for your tastebuds, too. Eat these delicious berries in smoothies, on top of salads, or simply by the handful.
How else can you keep your brain fit?
Aside from including the above foods in your diet, together with others like avocado, eggs and green tea, here are five other ways you can boost your brain:
- Get at least 7–8 hours of sleep a night
- Take up a new hobby
- Try new things
- Play card games
- Connect with friends
Evergreen Lifestyle villages offer residents the opportunity to be part of a connected community and join a range of special interest groups, including photography and birdwatching societies and wine tasting clubs. Lifestyle Centres at each village also provide the perfect space for friends to meet for coffee, share a meal or join a regular card game.