The 10 Best Foods for Over-40 Brains
Dietary shifts to keep you sharp as a tack.
It's no secret that as you get older, certain things require more care. For instance, you probably already know that you need to take better care of your heart, your weight, even your erection. Well, you've also got make sure that you're taking good care of your brain. There are a lot of ways to do so, but one key strategy is to make sure you're eating right. The proper brain foods can keep your with razor sharp as you enter your 40s, so we spoke to some experts about what you should be eating to keep your noggin strong. And we've got some more great brain foods for you here.
A four-ounce serving of salmon has approximately 2,000 milligrams of DHA and EPA, two key fatty acids that serve as oil for the brain's hardware. Aim for at least two servings of fatty fish a week, says dietitian Joan Salge Blake, author of Nutrition and You.
Think of blueberries as antirust for your gray matter. They are packed with antioxidants that neutralize the free radicals that cause neuronal misfires. Eat one cup of fresh or frozen blueberries a day, says dietitian Suzanne Farrell of Cherry Creek Nutrition in Denver. And as an added bonus, blueberries do wonders for your libido.
Green or Black tea
The antioxidant catechin, found in tea, promotes blood flow, which boosts brainpower by enhancing memory, mood, and focus. Drink one cup of freshly brewed tea a day–hot or iced. Bottled teas don't have the same effect.
The brain is a furnace that requires a constant supply of fuel (in the form of glucose) to perform. Fiber-rich whole grains provide an even flow, and their B vitamins nourish the nervous system. Oats (which are also one of the best foods for your heart), brown rice, and whole-grain breads are your best bets, says Blake.
Kidney beans are protein-packed complex carbohydrates that stabilize glucose levels and provide constant energy for the brain. Although any kind of beans will do, kidneys have more omega-3s. Aim for half a cup each day, says Blake. And here are some more foods you should be eating as you get older.
Nosh on one ounce of almonds a day to boost vitamin E, a low level of which is associated with poor memory performance and cognitive decline, says dietitian Sari Greaves, creator of inVok energy drink.
Milk and plain yogurt are packed with protein and B vitamins, and they have low glycemic indexes, which means they provide a stable flow of energy to the brain. Aim for three servings a day of low-fat or fat-free dairy, says Greaves.
Loaded with monosaturated fats, avocado pumps up blood flow to the brain, leading to better cognitive function. Eat a 1/4 cup twice a week, says Greaves.
Flavonoids, a natural nutrient in cocoa, improve blood flow in the brain, which helps boost cognitive function. The caffeine in chocolate also enhances concentration. Indulge in one ounce of dark chocolate a day to get all the benefits, says Greaves. Good news, chocolate is also good for your heart.
Curcumin, the main ingredient in turmeric, betters cognitive function, according to a range of evidence. Use turmeric to spice up lean meats instead of salt. It also goes well with vegetables, rice, and salad dressings.
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