As you age, moving into your 30s and 40s, your brain changes; It begins to contract and continues for the rest of your life. With this shrinkage changes in your cognitive abilities can occur, which can become a cause for concern in connection with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
But don’t we all know someone in the late ’80s or ’90s who is as sharp as an elephant’s memories? Why do these people avoid what seems to be an inevitable part of aging? Genetics has something to do with it, but more research suggests that diet does, too. Inflammation of the nerves It can be adjusted based on the way we eat.
“While we do not have a nutritional cure for dementia today, there are now several studies that point to the different ways in which food may play an important role in preventing or slowing cognitive decline,” he says. Uma Naidoo, M.D.a nutritional psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, director of nutritional and metabolic psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and author of This is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to Surprising Foods That Fight Depression, PTSD, ADHD, Anxiety, OCT and MoreA trained chef. “Our food choices can certainly help us preserve our memories and clear our minds of the brain fog that sometimes disrupts the clarity of our lives.”
Naidoo claims that diets rich in fats and sugars can negatively affect the hippocampus, the part of the brain most involved in forming relational memories. On the flip side, the right kinds of foods can protect memory. Dr. Naidoo explains some of the basic eating habits that may slow down the aging of the brain.
Instead of cutting calories, you can focus on eating foods that have been shown to support brain health. Fortunately, researchers have developed a diet to address this called the MIND diet. “Mind” stands for Mediterranean Intervention – DASH to delay neurodegeneration. It’s a combination of a Mediterranean-style diet, a diet designed to lower blood pressure, and the DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop High Blood Pressure.
“The important features of the MIND diet are that it is low in saturated fat, high in healthy oils, with infrequent intake of red meat — two or less times per week,” says Naidoo.
If following a calorie-restricting diet or the MIND diet is too strenuous, Naidoo recommends just filling your plate with the best memory-protecting foods. Start with green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, kale, kale, and spinach. Eat several servings daily.
“I highlight leafy greens because they contain folate, vitamin E, carotenoids, and flavonoids, which are nutrients that protect against cognitive decline,” says Naidoo.
The most nutrient-dense are young greens, along with vegetable greens harvested immediately after germination. “Young greens contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts,” she adds.
Aim for at least three daily servings of vegetables rich in colorful polyphenols, such as yellow and red peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beets, squash and eggplant. Cruciferous vegetables — such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts — are also rich in an anti-inflammatory compound called sulforaphane, which studies Exposition can protect against diseases that affect the brain.
Colored berries are a concentrated source of flavonoids and brain-friendly nutrients.
“Studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries reduce free radicals and inflammation in the brain,” says Naidoo.
Nuts are also neuroprotective. “Vitamin E found in peanut butter, roasted almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds can help people with stress, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms,” she continues.
“Extra virgin olive oil—a heart-healthy fat—is a source of at least 30 phenolic compounds, which are powerful antioxidants and brain protectants,” says Naidoo.
A study published in 2019 in the journal Molecules It was found that the technique of cooking with extra virgin olive oil to make sofrito, a delicious garnish for many dishes, enhances the extraction of brain-protective polyphenols from fried vegetables, such as onions, garlic, sweet peppers, tomatoes and hot peppers.
In 2019, a dimensional analysis A randomized, double-blind trial in patients with major depressive disorder showed that taking omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) reduced depression compared to a placebo.
“Omega-3 fatty acids promote brain health by reducing inflammatory markers and protecting neurons from excessive inflammation,” says Naidoo.
The best sources of omega-3s are oily cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines. However, you can also enjoy omega-3-fortified foods like eggs and find omega-3s in plant sources like edamame, walnuts, and chia seeds.
Get in the habit of ramping up the flavors in your cooking without adding calories and gaining a boost for the brain.
“Turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, saffron, rosemary, ginger, and other spices have been shown to aid memory,” says Naidoo.
Turmeric, the active ingredient in curcumin, is the star of the spice show. 2019 review of animal studies in Current Neuropharmacology showed that curcumin can reverse some of the brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Another study A publication that same year found improvements in attention, cognition, and memory in people who took 90-1,500 milligrams of turmeric over a 53-week period.
“When taking turmeric, mix it with some black pepper,” says Naidoo. “Black pepper may help the curcumin absorb.”
“Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of all types of cognitive impairment and dementia,” warns Naidoo.
However, Naidoo refers to a 2019 meta-analysis Of 28 studies found that light to moderate alcohol intake during middle to late adulthood was associated with a reduced risk of all types of cognitive impairment and dementia.
“If you drink alcohol, I always recommend moderation,” Naidoo advises. “Alcohol can have many negative health effects, so talk to your doctor about other risk factors.”
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