As we get older, our memory, concentration, and other brain functions can start to decline. This is a natural part of aging, but there are things we can do to prevent and slow this down as much as possible. These can be mental exercises to keep your brain sharp, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a brain healthy diet with the 11 foods we’ll go over in this article.
- Fatty fish are usually one of the main foods people talk about being good for your brain. This is because fish like salmon, trout, albacore tuna, herring, and sardines are all great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids make up a big portion of your brain, and your brain uses it to build brain and nerve cells important for learning and memory. Omega-3s may also help to slow-age related mental decline, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and other health benefits.
- Coffee contains caffeine and antioxidants, which both support brain health. The caffeine can help you to stay alert, improve your mood, and sharpen your concentration. Drinking coffee long-term is also associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s in adults who drink 3-4 cups daily.
- Blueberries and other berries contain anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Antioxidants can prevent oxidative stress and inflammation, which can both contribute to brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Antioxidants in blueberries may also accumulate in the brain, helping to improve communication between brain cells.
- Turmeric also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can directly enter the brain and help cells there. It may help to improve memory in people with Alzheimer’s, ease depression, and help new brain cells to grow.
- Broccoli has lots of helpful plant compounds, including antioxidants. It also has lots of vitamin K, which is important for a type of fat densely packed into brain cells. Vitamin K has een linked to better memory and cognitive functioning in research looking at older adults.
- Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper, and these nutrients have been linked to increased learning and memory and lower risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s.
- Dark chocolate contains brain-boosting compounds like flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants, which can help to improve your memory and prevent or slow down age-related mental decline.
- Nuts are associated with greater heart health, which is important for a healthy brain. Research has found regular consumption of nuts in older adults could lower their risk of cognitive decline.
- Oranges are chock full of vitamin C, which is a key ingredient to preventing mental decline. Some research showed that more vitamin C in your body was associated with better focus, memory, attention, and decision speed. Vitamin C also acts as a powerful antioxidant that can help to fight off free radicals that would damage brain cells and can protect against things like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Eggs contain vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, and choline. All of these nutrients are associated with better memory and brain function and eating enough of them can help to prevent things like dementia, depression, and other chronic conditions.
- Green tea, like coffee, contains caffeine which can help to boost brain function, specifically alertness, performance, memory, and focus. Green tea also contains L-theanine which can help to reduce anxiety and make you feel more relaxed.