Summer is a time of warm breezes, sunny skies and fresh, local food. Introducing some new superfoods into your diet this summer may help boost your brain health and improve your overall well-being. Ask your qualified medical provider whether making these changes could benefit your health.
Studies show that blueberries may protect the brain and have the potential to reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other age-related conditions. Eating a diet rich in blueberries may improve motor skills and learning capacity.
Salmon and other deep-water fish have an abundance of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These are necessary for proper brain function. Salmon, especially wild, has a large supply of these fatty acids. In addition to salmon, herring and sardines also possess omega-3 fatty acids and eating a 4-ounce serving of these fish, 2-3 times a week may boost brain health.
Seeds and Nuts
Walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, Brazil nuts and unhydrogenated nut butters provide an ideal source of Vitamin E. Increased levels of Vitamin E may help decrease the risks of cognitive decline as you age. Seeds such as sunflower seeds, flaxseed and sesame seeds are also a good source of Vitamin E. It doesn’t seem to matter if the nuts and seeds are raw or roasted but choose unsalted varieties if your diet has a sodium restriction.
Pomegranates provide potential antioxidant benefits and as the tiny seed-filled fruit can be difficult to eat, pomegranate juice may be a good alternative. Antioxidants may protect the brain from damage and citrus fruits like pomegranate or colorful vegetables are full of them. As pomegranate juice often has added sugar to counter the natural tartness of the fruit, limit intake to 2 ounces daily, dilute with water or seltzer as necessary and if you have a diagnosis of Diabetes, make sure to check with your doctor first.
Oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain breads may not only reduce the risk of heart disease, but they may also promote good blood flow to your organs, including your brain. Blood flow is required for every organ in the body so consuming whole grains may improve your overall health. Eating 1 slice of whole grain bread or ½ cup of whole-grain cereal 2-3 times daily can help you enjoy the brain-boosting benefits of whole grains.
Additional potentially brain boosting foods may include avocados (1/4-1/2 daily), beans (1/2 cup daily), freshly brewed tea (not bottled or powdered) and moderate amounts of dark chocolate daily. These simple additions may go a long way toward promoting great brain health.