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Diet and Brain Health: How to Snack, Drink, and Eat Smarter

by Ben Martin September 19, 2019 4 min read

Diet and Brain Health: How to Snack, Drink, and Eat Smarter

Your Brain and Food

It isn’t just about caffeine and omega-3s. Your diet has significant long-term effects on your brain health, according to a new study. While it’s been known for a while that a healthy diet can help mitigate the effects and onset of dementia, this study showed that it isn’t just mental health concerns, but also overall brain health and size. With a study of over 4,000 participants, researchers found that brain structure remains larger over time when diet is healthier.

We know that diet can affect body weight and body health. Fatty foods, especially, can play a role in helping you achieve a healthy weight for your body. But as it turns out fatty foods can also change brain structure. In fact, one study found that fatty foods can actually change the structure of part of the brain known for regulating weight. So it seems that the correlation between fatty foods and body health might actually run through the brain itself.

Picking Snacks and Drinks

Snack Smarter

Smart snacks can help keep you healthy overall, but can also improve your brain functioning! A new study found that most nuts, but walnuts in particular, might be really great for improving your memory. Try tossing a few nuts into that lunch salad, or simply as a buttery snack next to your afternoon cup of coffee.

 Anything that has flavonoids in it has been shown to improve the cognitive function of elderly people. It’s never too early to start packing in those flavonoids! Things like cocoa (especially dark chocolate), green tea, red wine, and all sorts of different citrus are bursting with flavonoids.

 B-vitamins can have positive effects on memory tests. B-12 vitamins, in particular, can’t be found in plant based sources so you may need to add a supplement to your diet to get everything that you need.

Greens contain high amounts of vitamins C and K, which can keep you sharper and smarter. Snacking on a green food every day is a great idea. If you love kale, go for handfuls of that in the early afternoon. Broccoli is also a great green to sneak into your diet.

 While a lot of spices, like turmeric, have famously great anti-inflammatory properties, it can be far more difficult to slide these spices into your fresh snacks. Try using celery, which sports polysaccharides and a spread of antioxidants which carry powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is also low in calories, which makes it a wonderful choice for snacking without packing on too many extra calories.

Brain Drinks

We all know that tea and coffee offer a short term boost in brain power through their introduction of caffeine to our systems. Caffeine can help you wake up, make it through a tough afternoon, or finish off that all-nighter to cram for a test. But according to a recent study, caffeine in general is also linked to better brain functioning.

If you’re brewing tea for your brain, the longer you let it steep the better. Tea has some great antioxidants that take their sweet time to get out of the leaves and into your cup.

Other drinks that can really boost your brain health? A glass of red wine has a powerful antioxidant known as “resveratrol” that can help reduce cell damage and even fight plaque that builds up in your brain. Thought plaque didn’t build up in your brain? Ponder that with a glass of red wine to fight the plaque that’s definitely building up…

 It’s no secret that hydration plays a huge role in brain health. Being dehydrated, even a little bit, can have drastic effects on your focus, energy levels, and overall brain power. Make sure that you’re drinking enough water especially during times of exercise and activity. Brain power is also linked to exercise. During times in life where you need to be super-smart as a superpower, you’ll need a great regiment of exercise and a whole lot of water. You don’t become the smartest by simply sitting and forcing yourself to study--you need a whole lifestyle.

Brain Meals

We’ve covered snacks and drinks, so what about a holistic diet? Well, you’ll want to reduce your red meat consumption and increase your omega-3 intake by eating a bit more fish. Try to work more of those leafy greens into your diet, along with good berries and nuts. If you can do all that consistently throughout your meals, you’re well on your way to a better diet for brain health.

Fighting Against Alzheimer’s and Dementia

While fighting against alzheimer’s and dementia isn’t the only thing that your diet can do, it is a powerful part of brain health. There are a few specific things that you can do to reduce your risks of alzheimers. Remember that alzheimer’s isn’t fully understood by science and medicine yet, and so many of these techniques for mitigating symptoms are also great for helping healthy adults maintain good brain health:

  • Reduce your red meat consumption. In study after study, red meat has been linked to higher rates of alzheimers.
  • Increase omega-3 intake. Fish can be a great source of omega-3s, and if you’re substituting red meat for omega-3s, that’s two-strikes against dementia.
  • Increase fruits and vegetables. Go for those nutrient-dense foods and the foods that are packed with antioxidants.
  • Don’t skip the dark chocolate. You may not want to hear this, but you probably don’t have to increase the amount of dark chocolate you’re getting. But you can try to reduce other sweet consumption and replace it with dark chocolate, because dark chocolate has some great antioxidants.
  • Turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. All of those spices and more can really help with inflamation, which has great effects on your long-term brain structure.

Conclusions

It’s pretty unlikely that you read the contents of the brain health nutrition facts that we’ve got here and were shocked by the food recommendations that have come out of it. Leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts, less meat, and heavily brewed tea is not exactly a shocking combination of ingredients. Mostly, you should realize that yes, your diet does affect your health. Introducing a few more berries and leafy greens to your diet will have some big brain impacts. Go ahead and drink those delicious cups of tea and coffee, just brew them long and skip the fatty mix-ins.

Alaya Naturals Blog and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on the Alaya Naturals Blog is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.