From regular aging to genetic predisposition -- have you ever wondered what you can do to help keep your mind sharp and at it's best?
Although our genes do play a role in if we acquire certain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, the brain is a powerful organ, and feeding it optimum fuel or "brain food" is proven to keep it performing at it's optimum level.
Make sure to include these top 5 brain foods to your daily diet for their strong mental and memory protective benefits.
Holly B. Clegg, author of the trim&TERRIFIC® cookbook series and specialized diabetic and cancer cookbooks, has been writing about the relationship between food and health for two decades. Check out Holly's latest book, "Too Hot in the Kitchen" on Red Room, where you can read her blog.
Think the choices you make in your diet only affect your waistline? Think again. Research has shown that eating fish at least once per week can slow memory loss and aging by 10 percent. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is very important for heart health but also for reducing the risk of acquiring Alzheimer's disease and depression. Try eating a 4-ounce serving of salmon a couple of times a week for optimum protection, or try trout or herring if you are not a salmon fan.
Berries may be small, but they pack a mighty punch of nutrition. Blueberries are known for their brain protecting benefits -- reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Whether fresh, frozen or from juice, make sure you include a variety of berries, such as cranberries, strawberries and raspberries, as all of these little jewels are full of powerful antioxidants that have a multitude of benefits from reduced risk of cancers, decreased infections and memory protection. Toss into salads, top yogurt or cereal or add to your smoothie to give your brain a boost.
You have always been told to eat your greens, but here is just one more reason to do so. From leafy greens like spinach and kale, to cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, it has been found that those who ate the most of these green veggies had the least memory lost over 25 years. Still other research has shown that broccoli along with other vegetables slows the aging process of the brain, allowing it work efficiently throughout life.
Another green food that is often thought of as a vegetable, but is actually a fruit, is the avocado. The creamy, buttery avocado should not be overlooked in fueling your brain with nutrients. Avocadoes are rich in fats, but they are important essential monounsaturated fats that promote healthy blood flow, which the brain requires for maximum effectiveness. They also help lower blood pressure, or hypertension, reducing the risk for cognitive decline. Avocadoes are calorically dense and very versatile, so add a few slices to your sandwich or top your soup with this delicious fruit.
Are you nuts about nuts? That can be a good thing as long as you eat them in moderation. Although nuts are a source of calorically-dense fats, they are mostly the heart healthy monounsaturated fats. They also contain an excellent source of Vitamin E ,which slows cognitive decline, keeping your brain healthy long-term. Almonds, walnuts or cashews -- a serving of nuts is 1 - 1.5 ounces, so sprinkle on your salad or portion out a serving for a brain-boosting afternoon satisfying snack.
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