In order for our brains to function properly, they must have sufficient nutrients. A healthy diet that is low in fat and high in essential nutrients reduces the risk of memory loss, helps prevent strokes and boosts alertness.
The vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals contained in fruits and vegetables may help your memory. The more produce you eat, the better off your memory will be. Folic acid, a B vitamin found in peas, broccoli, spinach, artichokes, beets and oranges, appears to be particularly helpful. Additionally, a diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in fatty fish like salmon, may protect your memory as you age. Eating fish or taking omega-3 supplements was associated with slower cognitive decline in elderly people.
Your brain needs a steady supply of glucose, or sugar, to concentrate and stay alert. Carbohydrates are the best source of this fuel. Certain dietary minerals, including magnesium, manganese and iron, are needed for your body to metabolize glucose. A deficiency in iron also prevents adequate oxygen delivery to the brain, which can cause fatigue and poor mental performance. Iron is found in animal and plant foods, but the body best utilizes the type of iron in animal foods. Top sources of this type of iron are chicken and beef liver, oysters and dark-meat turkey.
Good nutrition helps ensure a proper supply of blood to the brain, lowering the risk of a stroke. A stroke can impair cognitive function. Because oxygen and nutrients are carried in the bloodstream, anything that blocks the supply of blood to the brain, such as plaque on artery walls, can injure brain cells. A heart-healthy diet will reduce the risk of a stroke because heart health and brain health go hand-in-hand. This means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and fish and reducing consumption of red meat and fatty foods.
A healthy diet not only benefits your physical health but your mental health as well, so take the initiative and live a better life!