Just like the right diet can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, or cancer, health experts are finding that certain foods may boost your mind. Although there is no current treatment proven to cure Alzheimer's disease or dementia, there are foods that play a positive role in overall mind health. The Alzheimer's Association refers to a "brain-healthy diet" as "one that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encourages good blood flow to the brain, and is low in fat and cholesterol." Stay on top of your mental ball game with these foods.
Whether it's a new dance or a foreign language, the older you get, the harder it is to learn new things. The reason? In order to process new information our brain cells need to "talk" to each another. Yet, as we age those cells become inflamed, making it harder for them to communicate with one another. Blackberries can get the conversation flowing again. They provide potent antioxidants known as polyphenols that zap inflammation and encourage communication between neurons, improving our ability to soak up new information, according to a 2009 Tufts University study. More from Cooking Light: The Best Foods for Women Five Ways to Lower Cholesterol Naturally 10 Foods That Sound Healthy (but Aren't) Flickr photo by Sol@rpowered
If you're trying to kick your java habit you might want to reconsider. A recent Finnish study of 1,400 longtime coffee drinkers reveals that people who sipped between three to five cups of coffee a day in their 40s and 50s reduced their odds of developing Alzheimer's disease by 65 percent compared to those who downed fewer than two cups a day. Researchers believe that coffee's caffeine and ample antioxidants are the keys to its protective affects. Flickr photo by sh0dan
Here's a new reason to munch on an apple a day: Apples are a leading source of quercetin, an antioxidant plant chemical that keeps your mental juices flowing by protecting your brain cells. According to researchers at Cornell University, quercetin defends your brain cells from free radical attacks which can damage the outer lining of delicate neurons and eventually lead to cognitive decline. To get the most quercetin bang for your buck, be sure to eat your apples with their skins on since that's where you'll find most of their quercetin. Flickr photo by harminder dhesi photography
You've heard the good news that chocolate can lower your blood pressure. Now researchers have discovered that it can also keep your mind sharp. A 2009 Journal of Nutrition study found that eating as little as one-third of an ounce of chocolate a day (the size of about two Hershey's kisses) helps protect against age-related memory loss. They credit polyphenols in cocoa with increasing blood flow to the brain. Flickr photo by nathanmac87
Beta-amyloid plaques are one of the trademarks of Alzheimer's disease. The other is tangles in the brain made of tau proteins that can cause brain cells to die. Emerging research from the University of California at Santa Barbara reveals that two compounds in cinnamon -- proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde -- may inactivate these tau proteins. While this research is still in its infancy, a sprinkle of cinnamon on your oatmeal or yogurt certainly couldn't hurt. More from Cooking Light: The Best Foods for Women Five Ways to Lower Cholesterol Naturally 10 Foods That Sound Healthy (but Aren't) Flickr photo by TheDeliciousLife
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