Diet | Psychology Today

Diet | Psychology Today

A healthy brain is fed by a balanced diet and a variety of nutrients. But a few foods provide a special boost.

Fish are rich are in omega-3 fatty acids, which help build, sustain, and repair brain cells, so salmon, mackerel, tuna and others provide important nutrients to the brain. Antioxidants protect the brain from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation. Leafy greens including spinach, kale, and broccoli, as well as berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries all trigger or provide plenty of antioxidants.

Nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Whole grains like brown rice and barley and legumes like peanuts contain vitamin E. Another vitamin implicated in brain health is vitamin B, which can be found in eggs and dairy products.

Through omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins, these foods play a role in maintaining memory and concentration as well as staving off cognitive decline, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most proven options; research suggests that the diet protects cognitive abilities and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and overall mortality. It’s no surprise why: The diet prioritizes nearly all of the foods above, including vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and olive oil.

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