HealthHealthy eating for the brain: how spinach, colorful meals, berries and omega-3s reduce dementia risk

Healthy eating for the brain: how spinach, colorful meals, berries and omega-3s reduce dementia risk

Eat as much as you want. The brain loves it.
Eat as much as you want. The brain loves it.
Images source: © Licensor | ReDunnLev
3:03 AM EST, January 14, 2024

Spinach positively impacts cognitive functions due to its concentration of lutein, folic acid, β-carotene, and vitamin K. Other leafy green vegetables, like kale, savoy cabbage, and lettuce, have similar properties.

Colorful meals

Dietitians suggest that one of the keys to brain health is creating meals with at least six different colors on the plate. Vegetables, fruits, and salads should comprise half the plate.

The other half of the plate should include grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, healthy oils, dairy, and meat. Despite appearances, achieving this balance isn't that complex - a salad of black olives, tomatoes, feta cheese, and lettuce already brings in four colors! Such a meal composition increases the likelihood of a high antioxidant intake, which helps protect the brain from oxidative stress.

Berries

Last year, researchers from the University of Cincinnati studied the memories of 33 obese people over 50 years old. Half received a daily serving of berries while the other half received a placebo. A marked memory improvement was noted among the group consuming berries daily. Researchers concluded that consistent supplementation with berries could help protect against cognitive decline.

Whole grain products

Some dieticians propose consuming whole grain products three times daily—one serving for each main meal. Options are various including spelt, rice, barley, rye, oats, and millet. For instance, having oatmeal for breakfast, rice for lunch, and a slice of whole grain bread for dinner works well.

Seaweeds or fatty fish

The most effective sources of omega-3 acids, the brain's primary building blocks, are seaweeds and seaweed-eating fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring. Omega-3 acids have been shown to enhance memory and mood, as well as shield the brain from cognitive decline.

What's clear is that a brain-healthy diet is not a monotonous one. Generally, all that's required is small adjustments to the menu (for example, switching from white rice to whole grain) to heed the recommendations of doctors and dietitians effectively.

Related content