If you want to AGE DYNAMICALLY, future-proof your brain!
A fear for many people as they get older is that they are going to be sound of body but their mind will fail them. By the time you get to your 40s, chances are you’re already walking into rooms with absolutely no idea what you came there for. Of course, what’s going on is multilayered – forgetfulness and brain fog can be caused by so many different things (many of which can be helped by changing your diet) – but there are some foods which scientists know are excellent for keeping the brain healthy and preventing the downhill slide, so I will be going through them over the next blog posts.
Brain-friendly food No 1 is BERRIES
Berries aren’t just delicious, they also work wonders for cognitive function thanks to the high levels of powerful antioxidants they contain, specifically anthocyanidin. Anthocyanidin has been shown to boost memory, neural function and coordination by improving communication between brain cells, increasing plasticity – the creation and strengthening of neural pathways - which helps with memory and learning, and reducing cognitive decline. As a rule of thumb, the darker the berry, the higher its antioxidant content, with blueberries and blackberries being the winners.
Brain-friendly food No 2 is DARK CHOCOLATE
The brain is very susceptible to oxidative stress, which contributes to age-related cognitive decline, and foods with high levels of antioxidants fight the free radicals which cause this damage. In studies, cacao flavonoids encouraged neuron and blood vessel growth in the parts of the brain related to memory and learning. A study in 2018 looked at what happened when people ate dark chocolate (over 70% cacao) and concluded that it helped brain plasticity, which is crucial for learning. So indulge in small quantities of dark chocolate without guilt.
Brain-friendly food No 3 is NUTS AND SEEDS
A study a handful of years back found that diet which contained generous amounts of nuts and seeds was linked to better brain function in old age. Instead of reaching for the sugary snacks when the slump strikes, give nuts a try. A scientific review in 2014 found vitamin E might help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The nuts and seeds containing the highest levels of vitamin E are sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and almonds.