According to the authors of the Alzheimers Solution, the best foods for brain health and memory are brain-boosting omega-three fats, antioxidant-rich plant-based foods, and a diet low in saturated fats. This is the basis of a healthy diet full of natural foods for brain health.
There are also superfoods for brain health that you will want to include in your diet to help prevent cognitive decline and improve memory.
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The authors and researchers of the Alzheimers Solution emphasize that eating foods for brain health is the most critical lifestyle factor in preventing or delaying the progression of cognitive decline.
Their clinical research demonstrates that adhering to a brain-healthy diet results in better cognition. The authors state that “poor nutrition damages the brain by causing inflammation, the buildup of oxidative byproducts, clogs blood vessels and deprives your brain of nutrients it needs to strengthen neurons, their connections, and critical support structures.”
Suppose the diet is the most crucial factor in improving and preventing cognitive decline. In that case, there is substantial hope for anyone willing to make necessary dietary changes by including all the good foods for brain health in one’s diet.
This topic is close to my heart as I watched my grandma suffer and decline through the various stages of dementia. It is so sad to see someone like her be fit as a fiddle yet not recognize her family or surroundings due to Alzheimer’s.
Some people are at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s due to an APOE4 gene mutation. Regardless of genetic factors implementing lifestyle interventions that include nutrition, exercise, reducing stress, getting restorative sleep, and optimizing brain function through various techniques can delay cognitive decline. The Alzheimer’s solution authors identified these as the most important lifestyle factors for preventing cognitive decline.
This information empowers the individual ready to implement these crucial lifestyle changes, including optimizing the diet to have the best foods for brain health and memory.
It is also crucial to avoid the worst foods for brain health, so let’s get into this and identify the best and worst foods for brain health. Proper nutrition is crucial for sustaining and regenerating the body and brain.
The brain consumes a ton of energy and, as a result, is responsible for clearing a lot of waste.
What are good foods for brain health?
The best foods for brain health and memory include a whole food plant-based, low sugar diet with little meat and dairy. The worst foods for brain health include processed sugar and saturated fats.
Studies demonstrate that people who ate a diet full of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and nuts with minimal red meat and dairy had the lowest risk of developing Alzheimer’s than people who consume fewer plants and more fatty animal products.
Some of the worst foods for brain health include cholesterol and saturated fats in meat, dairy, and eggs. But not all fat is bad for brain health. It is the type of fat that matters. The brain requires fats to rebuild cells and repair itself.
The best fats for brain health are the omega-three fatty acids found in marine algae, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and fish.
Some people don’t absorb and utilize the omega-three fats in plants; therefore, highly absorbable marine algae is the best source of omega-three fats.
Diabetes increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and the saturated fats found in animal products cause insulin resistance, including refined sugar. A low saturated fat diet, primarily plant-based with omega-three fats, is good for preventing cognitive decline and diabetes.
Saturated fats are in animal meats, dairy products, eggs, and coconut oil. These are some of the worst foods for brain health. Refined carbohydrates and processed sugar are detrimental because these foods provide inadequate nutrition and spike blood sugar levels, which is damaging for the brain.
Erythritol, monk fruit, and stevia have minimal to zero effects on blood sugar levels and are the best non-nutritive sweeteners to use for brain health.
The top foods for brain health that the Authors identified in the Alzheimer’s Solution are:
Avocados – contain monounsaturated fats to support brain structures.
Beans – high in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and plant protein. Beans can lower cholesterol and regulate blood glucose after being consumed. High blood sugar levels increase the risk of cognitive decline. These veggie black bean quinoa burgers are delicious and a great way to get beans and other brain-boosting foods into your diet.
Blueberries – associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline when consumed. Try making this simple smoothie recipe with blueberries.
Broccoli – Contains antioxidants that cross the blood-brain barrier and protect the brain from free radicals.
Coffee (yay!) – stimulates acetylcholine production, which acts as a neuroprotective agent in the brain. Coffee also contains antioxidants that protect against damaging free radicals.
Dark chocolate/ cacao nibs – a rich source of phytonutrients that help relax arteries to supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Extra virgin olive oil – an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and polyphenols.
Flax seeds – have the highest amount of plant-based omega – 3 fatty acids to help reduce cholesterol and inflammation. Lowering cholesterol and inflammation is beneficial for brain health.
Herbal teas – mint, lemon balm, and hibiscus. These teas are an excellent replacement for sugary drinks and can be sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners such as stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit.
Herbs such as cilantro, dill, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, mint, and parsley are very high in protective antioxidants.
Leafy greens – You can never go wrong with adding more leafy greens to your diet containing many nutrients such as folate for brain health and antioxidants to fight damaging free radicals.
Mushrooms – reduce inflammation in the brain.
Nuts – contain unsaturated fats that are great for the brain.
Omega – 3 fatty acids derived from marine algae: omega-three fatty acids reduce inflammation and support the immune system.
Quinoa – complete protein source and contains the nutrients vitamin E, zinc, and selenium that are antioxidants for brain health.
Chia seeds – an excellent source of omega-three fats.
Spices – are potent sources of antioxidants and support the brain’s innate detox systems. Include spices such as cinnamon, clove, marjoram, allspice, saffron, and nutmeg. Cinnamon is a great spice to add to oatmeal and has been proven to lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity which is beneficial for the brain.
Sweet potatoes – full of phytonutrients and fiber that help to regulate blood sugar.
Green tea – contains polyphenol catechins that help clear toxins.
Curcumin – extract from turmeric root with powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-amyloid properties.
Whole grains such as oats, buckwheat, and millet – an excellent source of complex carbohydrates that provide energy for the brain.
These are some of the top foods for brain health to incorporate into your daily diet. It is also essential to avoid the worst foods for brain health to prevent cognitive decline. Add in the best foods for brain health and memory and take out the bad foods.
Here is a list of the worst foods for brain health
- Processed foods such as chips, cookies, and white bread.
- Processed meats – luncheon meats, hot dogs.
- Red meat – high in inflammatory saturated fats.
- Chicken – high in cholesterol
- Butter and margarine – high in saturated fats and trans fats.
- Fried foods – unhealthy fats and oils.
- Cheese – saturated fats
- Pastries and sweets – refined sugar (learn the difference between good carbs vs. bad carbs)
A brain-healthy diet is a healthy diet that many people can benefit from eating. Increasing antioxidant-rich plant foods while reducing refined sugar, saturated fats, and processed foods will help to reduce inflammation while providing the brain with essential nutrients required for brain function. Reduce saturated fats but be sure to include brain health omega-three fats.
This brain boosting granola is full of healthy omega 3 fats and superfoods.