Seared, baked or grilled. No matter how you cook it, the Omega-3 found in fatty fish, such as salmon, is good for your brain and may improve mental health. These foods may improve blood flow to the brain, stabilize moods and help with memory retention.
You can prepare salmon in a variety of ways. Marinate the fish in teriyaki sauce for an Asian twist or keep it simple with fresh herbs and lemon slices.
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are good sources of antioxidants. Blueberries may benefit aging neurons in the brain. Add them to cereal, oatmeal, yogurt and smoothies, or top them with whipped cream for a satisfying dessert.
Heating up blueberries doesn’t diminish their nutritional value. That means you can include a healthy blueberry crisp on your menu without guilt.
Just a quarter cup of walnuts a day delivers plant-based omega-3 fats. Adding walnuts to your diet may help improve cognitive function, concentration and short-term memory recall. Grab a handful for a quick snack, or put them on top of oatmeal, cereal and salads.
Nutty idea: Lightly coat your walnuts in olive oil and fresh rosemary or thyme. Roast on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-15 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
Great news — you can add chocolate to your shopping list. Cocoa or quality dark chocolate may improve blood flow to the brain, which could improve cognitive function and verbal fluency. Moderation is key, so treat yourself to quality chocolate when looking for a sweet snack.
Combine dark chocolate with other brain foods like walnuts or strawberries. Dip each walnut or strawberry into melted chocolate, then place on parchment paper to cool for 30 minutes.
Work oats, barley and quinoa into your meals for a dose of B vitamins, which may help prevent memory loss by reducing inflammation of the brain.
Overnight oats are a quick, customizable breakfast. Combine 1 part oats, 1 part milk and ⅛ part chia seeds (optional), vanilla extract (optional) and honey (optional) and soak overnight. Top with your favorite fruit and nuts — walnuts, dark chocolate and berries would be a smart idea.
Starting your day with a cup of coffee is a habit you can keep. That’s because caffeine may prevent adenosine from binding to its receptors, making you feel less drowsy. Along with helping you stay alert, coffee has been known to improve mood, reaction time, vigilance and learning.
If you told your kids to eat their greens, you were right. NPR correspondent Allison Aubrey advises that eating kale, spinach and other types of dark lettuce may help prevent brain deterioration as you age. Salads are a great way to get your greens, but don’t forget about smoothies.
Add brain foods to your smoothie, like strawberries, for a power-packed snack or meal. Combine 1 ½ cups spinach, 1 ½ cups kale, 1 peeled orange, 8-10 strawberries, 1 cup mango, ⅓ cup greek yogurt, ¼ cup water and 1 tablespoon honey (optional). Blend and enjoy.
A spice native to south-Asia, but widely available everywhere, turmeric may benefit your brain health because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Slip turmeric into stir-fry, soups and veggies to pack in the goodness.
Sage has compounds that could help improve cognitive and neurological function. Plus, it may protect against the accumulation of peptides associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s known for its strong scent, but adds a nice flavor to tomato sauce, chicken, turkey, soup, beans and veggies.
Roast broccoli with olive oil, onions, sage leaves, salt, garlic salt and pepper for 10-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
Get step-by-step instructions for each recipe mentioned above. You can also modify the recipes or use them for inspiration to develop new dishes. Cooking is a fun date night with your sweetheart, group activity or solo adventure. Getting creative also helps keep your brain sharp, so what are you waiting for?
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