We live in a health-crazed time where diet trends from Paleo, South Beach, Keto are all the buzz. No matter what you subscribe to, sometimes it's good to just take a step back and get back to the eating basics. It’s easy to remember to fill up on protein after a workout to help fuel your recovery, or carb-load before some physical activity, but you can forget to fuel another very important organ—your brain. Here are some researched-backed foods that will help promote healthy brain function and protect your brain as you age.
Mushrooms might not be the first brain food to come to mind, but the fungi have been found to reduce mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is the stage between the cognitive decline that happens with regular aging and actual dementia.
Recent research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that eating two or more 150-gram servings of mushrooms per week over six years resulted in a 57 percent reduced MCI risk among participants over age 60.
2 DARK CHOCOLATE
The antioxidants—flavonoids—in dark chocolate are known to help reduce inflammation, but they may also help boost your memory, too. According to research published in the FASEB Journal, people who consumed dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao had an increase in the gamma wave frequency in the brain—something which helps with memory recall—30 minutes later, which lasted over two hours postconsumption.
Another reason to keep drinking that daily cup of joe? A study in Biomed Research International found that regular coffee consumption can enhance memory and concentration. Regular drinkers of black coffee (about 2 cups a day) scored higher on tests measuring attention and concentration.
Consuming fatty fish, like salmon or cod, that are high in omega-3 fatty acids can help lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
Additionally, research published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that weekly consumption of baked or broiled fish can lead to more gray matter volume in parts of the brain linked to memory and cognition, which can help reduce your risk of the disease.
Research published in the Benefits of Natural Products for Neurodegenerative Diseasesfound that avocados contain antioxidants that can protect against neurodegenerative diseases that can come with aging, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Consumption of the healthy, monounsaturated fat in avocado can also help promote healthy blood flow and reduce risk of heart disease, too.