Consider these eating habits that can prevent memory loss.
When it comes to a brain-healthy diet, experts are still trying to figure out which foods are best. Scientists have already identified some of the worst candidates. A study published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care links a diet high in sugar to Alzheimer’s disease, while, according to a study published in Neurobiology of Aging, a diet high in trans fats can also lead to Alzheimer’s disease. While the average person knows what to look for, few realize that the best foods for brain health may be right under their noses.
Several dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet or the MIND diet, have the potential not only to provide a balanced diet, but also to help maintain brain function as you age and prevent dementia. The specific foods that make up these diets are rich in certain nutrients that have been identified by science as essential ingredients that can naturally prevent brain damage. By tailoring your eating habits to certain foods, you can keep your mind fit and prevent yourself from developing dementia in old age.
1 Eat more fish.
You’ve already heard plenty of arguments for eating more fish, but now it appears that omega-3 fatty acids have the potential to keep your brain in tip-top shape. A 2009 PLEFA study linked reduced levels of this key nutrient to mental decline and an increased risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Another study published in the Archives of Neurology independently reached the same conclusion after studying a large group of communities and found that those who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids protected their brains.
Don’t think you can take the easy way out and just take supplements. In another article published in JAMA, it was found that omega-3 supplements cannot compete with the nutrients consumed by eating fish. Don’t skip this important nutrient the next time you visit a fish restaurant near you.
2 Replace fats with olive oil.
You may have heard many arguments in favor of using coconut oil, walnut oil and other alternative fats. While these products have their place in the kitchen, you can’t go wrong with regular olive oil, especially if you want to keep your brain sharp as you age.
A 2022 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology analyzed the diets of 92,000 participants and found that those who consumed large amounts of olive oil had a 29% lower risk of dying from dementia or other neurological diseases than those who didn’t consume it regularly. If you need an excuse to make your own salad dressing or dress your favorite dish with this oil, remember that your brain will thank you.
3 Eat more colorful foods.
Flavonoids come in all shapes, sizes and colors, but experts agree that this nutrient helps prevent brain degeneration. If you want to add more of this compound to your life naturally, you won’t go wrong by stocking up on colorful fruits and vegetables. A study published in the journal Neurology in 2021 analyzed the diets of 77,000 participants over 20 years and found that those who consumed high concentrations of flavonoids had better neurological health as they aged.
Colorful fruits and vegetables naturally contain large amounts of this nutrient, but one particular type of fruit may be superior to many other foods when it comes to protecting you from dementia.
4 Walnut Crazies.
Walnuts provide an abundance of nutrients, but it now appears that this food has an even more important benefit. According to a study published in Nutrients, walnuts are closely linked to the prevention of dementia, depression, and other neurological diseases by preventing inflammation and oxidation. If you don’t like walnuts, you may have to learn to love them. Another study published in Advances in Nutrition found that mixed nuts did not help, and that the only positive correlation between prevention of cognitive decline and nuts occurred when participants ate walnuts. Other research in the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging found that walnuts in general have the potential to prevent mental decline in older women, but to be on the safe side, be sure to take some extra walnuts if you choose to eat a trail mix.
5 Increase your consumption of legumes.
If you want to improve your diet and potentially prevent dementia later in life, it can’t hurt to eat more legumes. A study of 200 Italian participants over the age of 65 published in the Journal of Translational Medicine found that those who consumed greater amounts of beans and legumes performed better on cognitive health tests.
6 Include more leafy green vegetables in your diet.
Green leafy vegetables are rich in nutrients for anyone looking to improve their diet. It now appears that these types of produce may protect the brain from dementia.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers examined the brains of study participants who followed a plant-rich version of the Mediterranean diet and a normal version of the same diet plan. The researchers found that those who ate a diet rich in vegetables and other essential foods showed the fewest signs of mental decline compared to the other participants.
7 Enjoy more berries.
Berries may prevent cognitive decline better than many other foods. Research conducted in collaboration with Rutgers University found that berries are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, and it appears that this type of fruit not only slows mental aging, but may also be the key to fighting dementia.
The key lies in the berries’ ability to prevent oxidation and could even reverse many of the negative aspects of a high-fat diet. Another 2012 study published in the journal Annals of Neurology came to the same conclusion: the more berries a person ate, the slower their mental state deteriorated.