Eating to Improve Brain Power—Part 1

Study after study has found a relationship between what we put in our mouths and how well we can perform important thinking and memory tasks. In addition to considering which specific nutrients may help brain function, we also need to look at the totality of our diets. A recent British study found that a diet high in saturated fat actually caused damage to neurons that control energy and appetite in mice. Other studies have shown that when we eat our meals can be a factor in our performance.

Doctors say cognitive abilities can start dropping in your 40s. But there’s mounting evidence that what you eat can help improve brain function right now.

In this blog post (Part 1) and the next on December 15 (Part 2), we list some of the foods that have been shown to improve brain function, protect against age-associated cognitive decline and encourage focus and clarity. Hopefully, you will find some of your favorites among them.

Walnuts. Walnuts are chock-full of heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and are the only good nut source of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which helps promote blood flow, which in turn allows for efficient delivery of oxygen to the brain.

Olive Oil. Olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to actually slow brain aging.

Berries. A recent study published in the Annals of Neurology found that a diet high in blueberries, strawberries and other berries was linked to a slower mental decline in areas like memory and focus in a large sample of middle-aged women.

Sardines. Fatty fishes like sardines and salmon are a well-known brain booster, thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which have been linked to lower risk of dementia, improved focus and memory. Sunflower seeds might be a good alternative.

For more brain superfoods, see our blog post for December 15, 2012.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

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