They say what you eat.” The food we include in our diets has a profound effect on our bodies. But can certain foods also boost the health of our minds?
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It turns out that some foods can actually help with brain functions such as memory and concentration.
“Different diets have been suggested over the years for optimal brain health and we have strong evidence for some,” says the memory and brain health specialist. Babak Tosi, MD.
Especially as we age, our brains go through some changes. Dr. Tosi notes that one thing that is happening is a change in the white matter in our brains, which can affect the way our brains transmit information to the rest of our bodies. In addition, there is a decrease in gray matter in our brains – the part of the brain that controls processing and thinking.
Fortunately, many diets and foods have been found to help slow brain degeneration and reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Can some diets help brain health?
Some diets have been shown to provide a variety of health benefits. The Mediterranean diet — which focuses on foods like vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil — is known to be heart-healthy. But it can also be good for your brain, by reducing white and gray matter changes.
“It has been found that the Mediterranean diet also reduces white matter changes,” says Dr. Tosi. “The gray parts of the brain, we call the cortex of the brain where the thought process is located, have thickened.”
Another much-recommended diet, the MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, which was developed to lower blood pressure. The MIND diet focuses on brain-boosting foods like fish and berries, while not eating foods like red meat, fried foods, sweets, and fast food.
Cutting out foods high in sugar and inflammation can boost your brain and may also help prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“Similar to the Mediterranean diet, the MIND diet can increase the overall size of the brain,” says Dr. Tosi.
If you’re not ready to commit to a completely new diet, incorporating certain foods into your meals can have a lot of benefits.
Here are some foods that will make your brain smile:
Turns out, “chicken of the sea” is more than just a healthy alternative to meat – it also serves as good brain fuel. fish contains Omega-3 fatty acidsIt is useful for learning and memory.
“There is strong evidence that fish can help reduce brain degeneration,” says Dr. Tosi. “It may also help with memory decline in the elderly.”
As you age, your brain’s gray matter — which helps process memory — naturally decreases. The good news? Omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help Increase the volume of gray matter in your brain.
Some examples of fish and seafood products to add to your diet include:
“Add color to your plate,” Dr. Tosi recommends. Making sure that your meals contain a mix of different fruits and vegetables is a good way to achieve nutritional balance for your body and mind. Berries are on the list of recommended fruits to add to your diet in the MIND diet due to their source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Various studies have shown that berries can have a positive effect on neurodegenerative diseases due to aging. While more research remains to be done, 2014 study He explains that eating berries can improve memory. A bowl of strawberries has never looked sweeter!
Some delicious berries that you can add to your diet include:
Another food swap that can have a positive impact on brain health is replacing refined carbohydrates with whole grains. Besides other health benefits, whole grains can have a positive effect on brain health due to the way they are processed in your body.
Unlike the refined carbohydrates in white bread, whole grains are complex carbohydrates that break down more slowly in your body and their sugars are released gradually, which is a good thing.
“Once you eat white bread, it quickly breaks down into sugar,” Dr. Tosi explains. “Whole grain bread does not. Try to avoid foods that release sugar too quickly in your body. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains are broken down more slowly, so the sugar is released gradually, allowing your body to work more efficiently.”
Dr. Tosi points out that high sugar intake is also associated with accelerated decline in brain function. Even something as healthy as prepackaged instant oatmeal isn’t as good for your health as the steel-cut version of oats.
Try replacing simple carbohydrates with alternatives to whole grains, such as:
In general, paying attention to what you eat can have many health benefits for your entire body – including your brain and memory. Even small changes can make a big difference. Discover new diets or replace certain foods in your daily meals to provide some brain-boosting benefits.
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