President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. At that time, fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s; today the number of people with the disease has increased to nearly 5.4 million.
The truth is you can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by eating properly, exercising, managing stress, and staying mentally and socially active. In addition, it is also possible to reduce symptoms and slow down, or even reverse, the process of deterioration.
Last month, we discussed multiple lifestyle modifications to prevent Alzheimer’s. Today’s blog will expound specifically on foods for prevention of the disease.
Brain Healthy Foods include:
- Green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, mustard and collard greens are high in nutrients (vitamin B9 and folate) which improve cognition.
- Cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and bok choy. These foods contain folate and carotenoids, which help to improve brain function.
- Legumes and beans are loaded with folate and also contain B vitamin, choline. Choline boosts the functioning of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is crucial for proper brain function.
- Berries and cherries contain the compound anthocyanin, a flavonoid that protects the brain from free radical damage. In addition, berries have anti-inflammatory properties and lots of vitamin C and E.
- Asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, beets, pumpkin and other squashes contain vitamin A, folate, and iron. These nutrients help improve mental capacity.
- Omega 3 essential fatty acids have been well- documented to help improve brain function. Food sources include fish, chia and flax seeds, pastured-raised animal proteins, and walnuts. You can also take a high-quality fish or krill oil supplement daily.
- Sunflower and pumpkin seeds contain zinc, choline, and vitamin E to support brain function.
- Cinnamon, sage, turmeric, and cumin are spices that can help break up brain plaque and reduce inflammation in the brain. These spices can also help with other illnesses that contribute to poor brain function such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sciencemuseum/3321603281/”>Science Museum London</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>