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Foods For Brain Health

Most of us already know that eating plants are supposed to produce optimal health as well as improve mental health and brain health. Even if you don’t go fully vegan or plant-based, eating a Mediterranean diet has been linked with slower rates of cognitive decline and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Studies have shown that those who stuck the closest to the Mediterranean diet–and had the lowest intake of high-fat, high-sugar foods–experienced a slower cognitive decline throughout the years of the study. Researchers have noted that those individuals who ate the highest amount of unhealthy foods and didn’t adhere as well to the Mediterranean diet actually negated the potential brain health effects of plant-based foods. Those individuals with a higher intake of foods like sweets, refined grains, and red and processed meats, did not have the significant cognitive benefit of eating a Mediterranean diet. As such, the researchers have indicated that if you're going to eat plant-based for brain health, you have to stick with it as consistently as possible to maximize the benefits. 1. Vegetables/Leafy Greens

Women between 20 and 50 years old should consume 2 ½ servings a day of vegetables, while those who are 51 and older should eat 2 servings a day. Men under the age of 50 should consume 3 servings a day, while those who are 51 and older should consume 2 ½ a day. Greens can improve brain health which may be because of their high levels of vitamin K, folate (a B vitamin), and the antioxidants beta carotene and lutein.

2. Fish

Everyone, except vegetarians, should be eating some form of seafood as their source of protein twice a week. A serving of fish, or about 3 ounces, is the size of checkbook.

3. Nuts

According to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, researchers noted that the brains of older women who ate five servings of nuts per week functioned similarly to those of women 2 years younger.

4. Berries

According to the MIND research, berries are the only fruit that benefit the brain. Women ages 70 and older who ate blueberries at least once per week or strawberries twice per week or more had a brain age as much as 2½ years younger than those who ate the berries less than once per month, according to a Harvard study that followed more than 16,000 women for almost 20 years.

5. Beans

Eating black beans, kidney beans, lentils, white beans, and others provides a hearty dose of folate, a B vitamin that may play a role in preventing dementia later in life, according to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

6. Olive Oil

It is thought that the compounds in extra-virgin olive oil may help prevent toxic protein deposits that can lead to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research from the University of Florence.

7. Whole Grains

Whole grains, like bulgur and quinoa, were associated with higher levels of brain function in a study that tracked the diet of men and women age 65 and older.

We know that physical exercise can help preserve brain health. We can add that diet also influences the health of the brain. Making some wise modifications to your diet now may help slow cognitive decline over time.

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