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Best Brain Foods for Brain Function

Posted by The New N Used Link on Wednesday, October 16, 2013


There's no denying that as we age chronologically, our body ages right along with us. But research is showing that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into your old age if you add these "smart" foods to your daily eating regimen.


Blueberries. "Brainberries" researchers have found that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Studies have also shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved learning capacity in humans. It is recommended that adding at least 1 cup of blueberries a day in any form  fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried will be beneficial to the brain.


Wild salmon. Deep-water fish, such as salmon, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function,it is also recommended because of its "cleanliness" and the fact that it is in plentiful supply. Omega-3s also contain anti-inflammatory substances. Other oily fish that provide the benefits of omega-3s are sardines and herring. A 4-ounce serving, two to three times a week is recommended.


Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E, the higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. Add an ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini. Raw or roasted doesn't matter, although if you're on a sodium-restricted diet, buy unsalted nuts.


Avocados. Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health, the avocado is a fatty fruit, but it's a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. "And healthy blood flow means a healthy brain,". Avocados also lower blood pressure, and as hypertension is a risk factor for the decline in cognitive abilities, a lower blood pressure should promote brain health. Avocados are high in calories, however, adding just 1/4 to 1/2 of an avocado to one daily meal as a side dish is good.


Whole grains. Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice can reduce the risk for heart disease. "Every organ in the body is dependent on blood flow. If you promote cardiovascular health, you're promoting good flow to the organ system, which includes the brain." While wheat germ is not technically a whole grain, it has vitamin E and some omega-3s. 1/2 cup of whole-grain cereal, 1 slice of bread two-thee times day, or 2 tablespoons of wheat germ a day is recommended.


Beans. Beans are "under-recognized" and "economical,". They also stabilize glucose (blood sugar) levels. The brain is dependent on glucose for fuel, and since it can't store the glucose, it relies on a steady stream of energy which beans can provide. Any beans will do, but partial to lentils and black beans and recommends 1/2 cup every day.


Pomegranate juice. Pomegranate juice (you can eat the fruit itself but with its many tiny seeds, it's not nearly as convenient) offers potent antioxidant benefits, which protect the brain from the damage of free radicals. "Probably no part of the body is more sensitive to the damage from free radicals as the brain,"  because of their antioxidant properties -- "the more colorful the better,". Because pomegranate juice has added sugar (to counteract its natural tartness), you don't want to go overboard;approximately 2 ounces a day, diluted with spring water or seltzer is recommended.

Freshly brewed tea. Two to three cups a day of freshly brewed tea  hot or iced contains a modest amount of caffeine which, when used "judiciously," can boost brain power by enhancing memory, focus, and mood. Tea also has potent antioxidants, especially the class known as catechines, which promotes healthy blood flow. Bottled or powdered teas don't do the trick. "It has to be freshly brewed." Tea bags do count, however.


Dark chocolate. Let's end with the good stuff. Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties, contains several natural stimulants, including caffeine, which enhance focus and concentration, and stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood. One-half ounce to 1 ounce a day will provide all the benefits you need. This is one "superfood" where more is not better. "You have to do this one in moderation,"

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