Studies have proven that a nutritious diet is essential when it comes to keeping your brain healthy. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and healthy fats can have a profound effect on cognitive function. Here’s how a diet rich in nutrients can benefit your brain’s health.
1. Improves Memory
Eating vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables may help your memory. In fact, it’s often stated that the more produce you eat, the better your memory will be. B vitamins found in broccoli, leafy greens, beets, and oranges can help you protect your brain against memory loss. Elderly individuals who eat fatty fish, such as salmon, often experience slower cognitive decline.
2. Increases Alertness
The brain requires glucose in order to stay alert. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, are the best source of glucose for your brain. Minerals such as magnesium and iron are key in helping your body metabolize glucose. In fact, an iron deficiency can prevent the brain from receiving enough oxygen, causing fatigue and slower mental performance. To stay alert, be sure to eat ample amounts of healthy grains and lean meats.
3. Fights Depression
Folic acid, which is found in yeast, greens, and fruit juices, is key to proper brain function. A diet rich in folic acid guards against depression and other cognitive disorders. Clinical trials have proven that when in conjunction with a diet rich in B vitamins, folic acid can also help prevent dementia and age-related mental decline. Spinach is an excellent source of folic acid that can be added to salads, soups, and much more.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
A healthy diet can help keep your blood pressure in check, which guards against stroke. Limiting fast food, which tends to be high in fat and sodium, is an excellent way to protect your brain’s health. You may also wish to limit your processed food intake, as studies have indicated that a diet high in processed foods can lead to cognitive impairment. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, as processed foods are often found in the middle aisles.
5. Prevents Stroke
Proper nutrition ensures an adequate supply of blood to the brain, which lowers the risk of a stroke. Strokes can impair brain function, so it is important to take steps to reduce the risk. Heart-healthy diets reduce plaque on artery walls, which allows the brain to receive enough blood. To protect against stroke, eat a diet rich in produce, nuts, legumes, and fish while limiting your consumption of red meat and fatty foods.
Paired with regular physical activity, following a healthy diet can have a profound effect your brain’s health. You’ll be able to maintain an active life and remain alert for years to come.