From Your Mouth to Your Brain

No doubt about it: research shows that diet absolutely plays a major role in the health of your brain. What wonderful news for women who want to enhance memory, build new brain cells, and even help prevent Alzheimer's disease! 

Study after study shows the power of the right foods. For instance, in research from Rush University in Chicago, people who ate one to two servings of green leafy vegetables a day were cognitively 11 years younger than those who ate fewer greens. 

Consider adding these brain-helpers to your diet:   

  • Olive oil, green tea, cabbage and leafy greens (broccoli, spinach and kale): These antioxidant superfoods help fight “uncontrolled inflammation,” which can damage the brain over time.
  • Beets, tomatoes and avocados: These three foods help the brain receive the blood needed to stay sharp. Studies suggest increased blood flow to the brain promotes neuron growth in the area of the brain associated with learning and memory. 
  • Nuts (especially walnuts), curcumin and pomegranates: They work deep in the brain to fight amyloid plaques, which can kill brain neurons.
  • Grapes, coffee and dark chocolate: These nutrient powerhouses increase the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth of new brain neurons. 
  • Fish: Seafood— including salmon, bluefin tuna, sardines, and herring — are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for good brain health.
  • Blackberries, blueberries and cherries: These are a rich source of anthocyanins and other flavonoids that may boost memory function.

Bonus: A diet that’s good for your brain is also good for the heart and blood vessels and can reduce risk factors for heart disease and stroke. 

Study after study shows the power of the right foods.

A Brain-Friendly Eating PlanMouth to Brain small

Talk to your health care provider about an eating plan that incorporates brain-friendly foods, such as:  

  • The Mediterranean diet: An eating style that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, olive oil instead of butter, beans, and cereal grains, such as wheat and rice. Moderate amounts of fish, dairy, and wine are included, while red meat and poultry are limited.
  • The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension): A good eating plan for people with high blood pressure which also includes brain-boosting foods.
  • The MIND diet: Blends parts of the well-known Mediterranean Diet and DASH. Developed by researchers at Rush University in Chicago, this eating plan was shown to slash the risk of developing Alzheimer's by as much as 53 percent. Even those who followed the diet moderately had a 35 percent lower risk. MIND stresses eating more plant-based foods and less red meat.
Small Steps: Take 20
To prevent eye fatigue caused by long periods of computer use, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Look away every 20 minutes at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.