It’s important to keep your brain healthy as you age, and the best way to do this is by changing your diet. The foods you choose can harm or protect your brain health over time.
Here are the best and worst foods for keeping your brain healthy.
The worst foods for brain health
1. Artificial trans fats
Trans fats are found naturally in meat and dairy. But, artificial versions, which are found in hydrogenated vegetable oils, can have a detrimental effect on the brain.
Artificial trans fats are in a range of products, including snacks and prepackaged cakes and cookies. Studies show that people that eat a high amount of these foods are more likely to suffer from early cognitive decline and memory issues.
2. Sugary drinks
It’s well known that eating or drinking a lot of sugar is bad for your health. Drinks like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, and even fruit juice, can also have a negative effect on your brain.
Studies show it could increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, as fructose or artificial sugars increase your blood pressure and cause insulin resistance, which affects your brain function and memory over time.
3. Refined carbs
Refined carbs are also bad for your brain health, as they contain high levels of sugar and processed grains. They cause a spike in blood pressure, insulin, and blood sugar levels.
This means that, if consumed excessively, refined carbs can affect your brain function and some aspects of memory function, like responsiveness.
Aspartame is used in many sugar-free products as an artificial sweetener. However, it contains a substance called phenylalanine that has been linked to a number of cognitive problems including learning difficulties, depression, and anxiety.
When consumed excessively, it could lead to worse mental performance and, in the long-term, it could even increase the risk of stroke or dementia.
The best foods for brain health
Fatty fish is one of the best foods for brain health. Fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, and trout contain omega-3 fatty acids, which your body uses to build and repair nerve cells in the brain.
This makes it a great food for boosting your memory and cognitive abilities. It can also prevent learning difficulties, age-related mental decline, and mental health problems like depression.
Pumpkin seeds are a source of zinc, iron, copper, and magnesium, which all play an important role in healthy brain function and preventing neurological conditions.
When added to your diet, you can reap the benefits of these nutrients, which are needed for overall brain health.
If you love coffee, you’ll be happy to hear that caffeine could support brain health. It has a number of positive effects, including boosted mood and sharpened concentration.
Scientists have also found that drinking coffee every day could reduce the risk of developing neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Another food that can benefit your brain is dark chocolate. It has high levels of flavonoids and antioxidants, which enhance your memory and boost your mood.
The benefits increase with chocolate that has a higher cocoa content. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa, so the benefits aren’t seen with regular milk chocolate.