The Best and Worst Foods for Your Brain
New research shows that eating a certain type of diet leads to less brain shrinkage and higher scores on mental acuity tests, CBS News reports. As dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are two of the most feared and dreaded of medical maladies, it is good to know that people can be proactive and use this means to reduce their risk.
The Best Foods for Brain Health
The diet beneficial for brain health was found to include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins B, C, D and E. Fruits and vegetables are the most potent sources of vitamin C, while nuts and seeds are excellent sources of vitamin E. Whole grains and dairy products provide B vitamins, and fatty fish, such as salmon, supply omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. The latest study corroborates previous research that shows a diet comprised of dark green leafy vegetables, berries, nuts and fish slows cognitive decline.
The Worst Foods for Brain Health
In the investigation published in Neurology, scientists found eating a junk food diet, which contains large amounts of trans fat, might result in brain shrinkage. Such foods were not only associated with a smaller brain volume, but also with a significant detrimental effect on cognitive function, Foodnavigator.com notes. Trans fat is widely prevalent in grocery store packaged baked goods, as well as in some restaurant food, and is actually an unsaturated fat that is more difficult for the body to digest. Foods high in this substance include items such as cookies, microwavable popcorn and crackers, along with potato chips, French fries and fried chicken.
Although previous research had consistently revealed that the aforementioned nutrients helped maintain brain function in old age, the new research used an approach that made the results even more reliable. Rather than using questionnaires, which are subject to error, the scientists collected blood samples and assessed them for different diet biomarkers. Additionally, the participants underwent MRIs to determine brain volume, as Alzheimer’s patients experience a greater reduction in this than healthy individuals.
The results found that those who received high test scores in memory and critical thinking not only showed less brain shrinkage, but their blood samples were more likely to contain healthful biomarkers. Furthermore, those who received poor scores on cognitive tests had a greater likelihood of having biomarkers for trans fats in their blood.
Co-author Maret Traber comments that the results provide people with another reason for adopting a New Year’s resolution of eating more fruits and vegetables, The Huffington Post relates. Also, Foodnavigation.com reports the statement of lead author, Gene Bowman, who opines that it is exciting to consider that individuals could possibly prevent brain shrinkage and mental decline by changing their diet. The authors recommend further research to explore this area more fully.
For a quick and handy list of the best and the worst foods for your brain, be sure to save (or “Pin”) the graphic above from Dr. Oz.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.