Berries and greens support aging brain
What’s good for the heart is good for the mind. The experts at the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) agree that foods that support heart health also contribute to brain health. This makes sense because conditions like high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes affect the heart as well as the brain. Their most recent report, Brain Food: Global Council on Brain Health Recommendations on Nourishing Your Brain Health reviews impact of dietary habits of adults 50 years and older.
Upon assessment of peer reviewed research the group agreed on the following regarding diet and brain health:
- Long term healthy eating habits promote good brain health – it’s never too late to start!
- The Western Diet is not good for the brain: it is too high in salt, saturated fat, sugar and calories
- Plant based diets particularly rich in fruits and vegetables, specifically leafy greens and berries, are associated with better brain health
- Intake of fish and seafood seems to benefit cognitive function
- A diet higher in unsaturated fats and lower in saturated fats is linked to better cognition
- Excessive alcohol is bad for brain health
- Excessive salt intake can contribute to high blood pressure and in turn is harmful for brain health
- There is no magic remedy or cure for maintaining brain health
The expert panel’s dietary recommendations can be distilled down to choosing whole fruits and vegetables specifically berries and green leafy vegetables, healthy fats found in olive oil and nuts as well as fish and seafood. Sound familiar? The diet should also include beans, low fat dairy, poultry and grains. Foods to limit are sodium rich processed foods, sweets and foods rich in saturated fat such as red meats and full fat dairy. Thankfully we have an arsenal of recipes that can make meal planning simple. Recipes that focus on brainy ingredients include:
Savory Fruit Compote, Springtime Spinach Salad, Spinach and Chicken Stir Fry Salad with Raspberries.
Published April 1, 2018