A balanced and healthy diet can do wonders for warding off brain aging. Incorporating foods that are rich in key vitamins, minerals, and nutrients into your eating habits is a great way to do this. Keep your mind sharp and focused with these six irresistible superfoods for brain health!
Citrus steadies blood sugar.
Biting into your favorite sweet-tart citrusy treat can perk you up in seconds — and it will boost your memory, recall and mental shar pness by 40 percent in two weeks if you enjoy a serving every day, suggests a study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. Credit citrus’ blend of vitamin C and antioxidants, which heighten insulin sensitivity, helping brain cells quickly absorb and use energizing glucose.
Berries enhance circulation.
Digging into berries improves your focus and memory by 35 percent for four hours — and noshing on these sweet gems daily keeps your brain 10 years younger and healthier, say Columbia University researchers. They credit berry compounds (anthocyanins) for increasing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to hardworking brain neurons. Plus, you absorb twice as many anthocyanins from frozen and cooked berries than from fresh ones, so you can enjoy them even when they’re not in season.
Avocado prompts release of neurotransmitters.
The creamy fruit is loaded with the healthy fats your brain uses to make acetylcholine, a focus-enhancing neurotransmitter. In fact, scientists at East Carolina University say eating one small avocado daily can single-handedly cut your risk of brain fog and memory lapses in half in two weeks, plus improve your ability to concentrate on difficult tasks within three months.
Walnuts repair brain cells.
Nibbling on 14 walnut halves daily heightens your focus, short-term memory and ability to multitask by 45 percent, plus cuts your dementia risk by as much as 60 percent. So say Yale scientists, who found that key walnut compounds, polyphenols and alpha-linolenic acid, kickstart the healing of aging and damaged brain cells.
Sweet potatoes boost ‘focus hormone’.
Work three cups of sweet potatoes into your week, and you’ll feel 45 percent more clearheaded in 10 days! Australian researchers say this spud brims with carotenoids that fuel the release of the brain-stimulating hormone dopamine. You’ll get the perks whether you enjoy them baked, cut into fries or grated and served as hash browns.
Beans tamp down cortisol output.
You can reduce your risk of memory lapses and cognitive decline by 75 percent simply by enjoying 1⁄2 cup of any legume daily, according to Italian scientists. Thanks goes to legumes’ rich stores of B vitamins, manganese and copper — nutrients that have been shown to calm the adrenal glands, dialing down their production of brainaging stress hormones like cortisol.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.