Many studies have shown that adding certain foods to your diet can help keep your mind and memory healthier and stronger as you age, thereby keeping the ravaging mental effects of dementia at bay. And better yet, these foods are packed with health benefits, are relatively affordable and easy to find at stores and markets.
Listed below are some of the top rated foods that can help prevent and fight off dementia, according to leading experts in the field of neuro-degenerative diseases.
Kale, collard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard are just some of the leafy greens that are high in essential B vitamins, like folate and B9, which can help reduce symptoms of depression. Leafy greens have also been shown to boost memory and cognition.
Of course leafy greens are superb in salads. But you can also add these powerhouse veggies to all kinds of soups, stews, and chilis, or you can puree them and add to sauces, pesto or hummus to give them an extra zing of flavor and nutrition.
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries all contain a flavonoid called anthocyanin that stops the progression of brain health damage triggered by free radicals. These berries and many others are also packed with antioxidants and a wealth of essential vitamins that help reduce inflammation and help you maintain good brain.
So go ahead and fill up your shopping wagon and kitchen with these fantastic super berries. Here’s just a few fun and delicious ways that you can enjoy your berries – You can make berry smoothies, add them to your fruit salad, or mix them into wholewheat breakfast cereal.
Go nuts with vitamin and nutrient rich pecans, almonds, walnuts, cashews, and peanuts. These nuts in particular are loaded with healthy fats, magnesium, vitamin E, and B vitamins — all of which are shown to promote good cognition and ward off signs of dementia. Roasted and salted nuts also work wonders for your appetite in between meals.
Various studies have found that women over the age of 70 who consume at least 5 servings of nuts per week have significantly better overall brain health than women in the same age group who don’t eat nuts. Another study shows that the anti-inflammatory phytochemicals in English walnuts can reduce inflammation of brain cells to maintain optimal brain health throughout the aging process.
If someone has recently planted that little seed in your mind that you should stock up on seeds, then you should let it grow, because they’re advice is spot on. Sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds all contain vital antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin E, zinc, omega-3s, and choline that reduce cognitive decline. Just like nuts, you can snack on these seeds by roasting them and mixing the two together, sprinkle them on salads, or sneak them into desserts like pudding or muffins. Nobody will be able to say a thing about it.
Olive oil, flax seeds, and fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel are excellent food sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which contain DHA that helps your brain stay healthy. Many studies prove that omega-3s are very effective at fighting and preventing dementia, and recommend taking 200 mg of DHA daily to achieve good brain health. However, the average daily intake of DHA in the U.S. is estimated to be only about 80 mg. If you’re a strict vegetarian or vegan, ask your doctor for safe and effective DHA supplements to ensure that you don’t become deficient.
Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables are high in B vitamins and carotenoids that have the ability to reduce levels of homocysteine — an amino acid linked to cognitive decline, brain atrophy, and dementia. Try sautéing cruciferous vegetables in garlic and olive oil or sneak these superfoods into smoothies, soups, and condiments.
Spices like sage, cumin, and cinnamon taste great when used to season meals, and they also contain lots of polyphenols — compounds that offer numerous benefits for memory and brain health. Spices such as these have the ability to eat away at bad brain plaque and reduce inflammation, which helps reduce cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s.
So what are you waiting for? Start filling up your spice rack with a variety of spices that can liven up your meals, while also keeping your brain healthy.
As was previously mentioned, it’s important to note that foods cannot completely prevent nor cure dementia. However, they can indeed reduce your risk of developing it significantly, or keep it from getting worse and improve the symptoms if you already have the condition.
Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes to make sure that it’s safe for you.