Here’s some food for thought: The brain’s functioning greatly depends on what kind of nutrition you feed it. So, eating a rich supply of vitamins and minerals, protein, heart-healthy fats, and fiber is the best way to make sure your cognitive health is optimal.
Plus, eating for brain health also promotes longevity. “It’s critical to take care of our brains to maximize our cognitive function and prevent mental decline with aging,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, author of The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook.
“So many lifestyle factors play a role in brain health including exercise, sleep, stress management, socialization and of course, a healthy diet,” Harris-Pincus continues.
When it comes to the latter, the experts we spoke to over the past year shared plenty of helpful brain health eating tips you’ll want to take with you into 2022.
4 brain health eating tips we learned in 2021
1. Consume brain-boosting omega-3s for longevity
Though we’ve known greater intake of omega-3 fatty acids can protect and promote brain health, there’s now evidence that shows it’s directly correlated with having a longer lifespan and cognitive function long-term, according to a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “The three main omega-3 fatty acids include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA),”s Amanda Baker Lemein, RD, previously told Well+Good. These are five of the best sources of omega-3s.
2. Add choline to your list of top nutrients for brain health
Despite being listed as an essential nutrient way back in 1998, choline is still relatively unknown to most folks despite playing a vital role brain function. “Choline is what’s considered an essential nutrient, which means that although your body produces some of it, you have to eat foods that contain it to get enough,” nutrition expert Sonya Angelone, RD, shared with us this year.
Among its many benefits, choline helps ward against cognitive decline and boost your memory. Not bad, right? Here are 10 foods rich in choline to add to your grocery list.
3. Commit the big 4 nutrients for boosting brain health to memory
When Mark Hyman, MD, one of the most reputable functional medicine doctors around drops knowledge, we listen. So when he shared on his Instagram a quartet of nutrients to consume for better brain health, not only did we save it, we shared it with you.
4. Start your day by eating these brain-friendly breakfast foods
It can feel overwhelming at times to figure out the right foods to eat for brain health and when…and how much. So when Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, author of The Family Immunity Cookbook, shared a super-simple list of breakfast foods that support cognitive function with us this year we took notes. Bottom line: “You don’t need a complicated breakfast, but it should include several food groups with nutritious foods,” she says. Here are seven she suggests eating within an hour or so of waking up.
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