Health is personal, and everyone is on their own journey. But it’s easy to fall into unhealthy routines and forget the staples that help make a balanced and healthy diet.
Some foods are better than others at protecting and actively improving our bodies’ functions. We take a look at the top five foods that can keep your brain healthy, as suggested by a Harvard nutritionist. Dr. Uma Naidoo is a nutritional psychiatrist and faculty member at Harvard Medical School. She has a book called “This is Your Brain on Food” which speaks to some of the best choices that can keep cognitive function at their peak.
Below are five of the top picks for a healthy brain. Eat up! Via CNBC Make It:
1. Leafy Greens
It’s well known that green vegetables are healthy and helps maintain a good immune system. Dark leafy greens are especially good for the brain. Arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, Swiss chard, and watercress are among the most healthy. They contain folate, which is known to support neurodevelopment.
2. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Extra dark chocolate, with a 70% cacao or greater has a number of health benefits, from antioxidants to cacao flavanols that help preserve the health of brain cells. Just don’t overdo it.
Berries are full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals, plus they’re delicious and so versatile. Their fiber also feeds microbes in the gut which can help to reduce brain inflammation.
“Eating a variety of colorful berries can also reduce symptoms of anxietyand help fend off neurodegenerative diseases like dementia,” says Naidoo.
Turmeric has a powerful compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. When combined with black pepper, the curcumin is made more bioavailable to our brain and bodies. Turmeric can be added to rice, potatoes, vegetables, or made into a golden milk latte.
Yogurt, like a lot of fermented foods, has a wealth of gut-friendly bacteria. When eaten in moderation, it can be a great addition to a healthy brain diet. Alternatives include kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha.
“We have what’s called a gut-brain connection,” says Naidoo. “So when we eat fermented foods and boost our gut health, we may also improve our cognitive function.”