What does it mean for a specific food to be healthy? We often consider the effects that certain foods or ingredients can have on our physical health, while neglecting to factor in how they can impact our mental health. Your brain uses roughly 20% of the calories that your body consumes, so it needs plenty of quality fuel to maintain peak performance throughout the day and as the years go on. It’s true that eating certain “smart” foods can help increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into your older age. With this in mind, the healthcare providers here at Family Practice Center have outlined a few of these specific foods for our readers to consider:
- Oily fish like salmon and tuna can be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help build membranes around each cell in the body, including brain cells. This can improve the structure of brain cells called neurons and ultimately lead to higher mental capacity.
- Foods that contain antioxidants like dark chocolate and berries are also highly recommended. Antioxidants are very important for brain health, as the brain is highly vulnerable to oxidative stress, which can be a major contributor to age-related cognitive decline and brain illness.
- Nuts and seeds can be critical sources of vitamin E, an essential component of good mental health for aging people. Almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds are especially highly recommended. People with high blood pressure or sodium levels should consider unsalted nuts.
- In addition to providing vitamin E, eating whole grains (including oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice) can reduce the risk of heart disease. A healthy heart promotes good blood flow to areas all over the body, including the brain.
Making a habit of including some of these foods every day can be a good start towards crafting a healthy, brain-friendly diet. While we know it can be a challenge to completely alter your diet, making even slight changes can pay big dividends over time. For more information or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers today, please contact Family Practice Center. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional health tips, news, and so much more.