Feed your mind as well as your body with nutrients that might stave off some age-related loss of brain power. A study at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that eating an average of just 2.8 servings of vegetables a day helped seniors slow cognitive loss by 40 percent – the equivalent of being five years younger.
Add these brain foods to your diet:
What they do: Vitamins B-6 and B-12 improve blood flow, says Sue Moores, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn. That may help keep memory strong, though evidence is mixed.
What to eat: For B-6, legumes (including beans and peas), fortified cereals, whole grains; for B-12, meats, fish, dairy products and eggs
Omega-3 fatty acids.
What they do: These essential fatty acids improve blood flow to the brain and keep plaque from forming in blood vessels, which can lead to stroke. Low levels of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
What to eat: Fish, especially salmon, trout, halibut and tuna
Antioxidants and phytonutrients.
What they do: Both help minimize damage to cells in the brain and body that occurs as we age.
What to eat: Fruits and vegetables – especially berries, which are loaded with polyphenols, phytonutrients linked with better brain health
What it does: Choline may help maintain memory as we age. It also helps transmit messages from the brain to nerves in the body.
What to eat: Eggs, nuts, whole grains, spinach and cauliflower