Dietitian’s Dish: Top 5 Foods for Your Brain Health
By Amanda Allen, MS, RDN, LD

What is brain health? Brain function can be broken down into cognitive and emotional abilities. Cognitive function relates to information processing, and emotional function refers to how well we respond to and translate feelings. Brain function can be impacted by injury, age and life events — and also by the foods we eat. For example, monounsaturated fats in avocados and olive oil can lower the risk of cognitive decline, while diets high in refined sugar or hydrogenated fats can increase the risk of neurological diseases. To help prolong the life of a fully functioning brain we need to eat foods that benefit our brain health.

Add these brain-nourishing foods to your cart the next time you shop:

 Leafy greens – A recent study found that folate and lutein found in leafy greens such as kale and spinach may slow cognitive decline.

 Berries – These contain high levels of flavonoids, associated with impacting the flow of oxygen and blood, which can lead to boosted concentration.

 Nuts – Many nuts, especially walnuts, contain omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation and help protect cells against oxidative stress, which can be harmful to the brain.

 Fish – Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon can help support healthy blood flow to the brain, which may assist in brain development and improve memory.

 Whole grains – Barley, brown rice, and buckwheat are among whole grains packed with vitamin E, which protects cells from damage and may help delay or prevent age-related cognitive decline.

Try to include a variety of brain-nourishing foods listed above to follow the MIND diet, which is a combination of the DASH and Mediterranean diet, for optimal brain health as you age. Try this Ultra Simple Chopped Kale Salad recipe at your next gathering or as part of your meal prep!

About the Author: Amanda Allen obtained her Bachelor of Science degree at Missouri State University and completed her internship and Master of Science degree in Nutrition Diagnostics at Cox College. Amanda’s nutrition philosophy is to promote optimal health and nourishment through a whole food nutrition plan and a positive relationship with food. She is excited to help guide you in finding your path toward being healthy based on your individual needs. Click here to learn more.

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