BRAIN FUEL: Eating to Support Brain Function

Categories: Fitness & Wellness

November_NutritionBy Jane McIntosh, MA, CNS

Research continues to show that adding specific foods to your diet can help support brain function, memory and cognitive skills. Who wouldn’t want that? The Journal of Neurology recently found that the Mediterranean Diet may reduce small-vessel damage to the brain. Try these healthy tips from the Mediterranean Diet for not only your body, but also your brain:

• Majority of your diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
• Limit red meats and eat fish and poultry at least twice a week
• Use healthy fats like fish and olive oil. A recent study shows that Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and seafood boosts memory function by 15%
• Try cooking with olive oil, canola or walnut oil instead of butter
• Alternate your protein choices; nuts, nut butters and beans are great alternative sources of protein

By incorporating these healthy foods into your diet, you can begin to benefit from their positive effects on brain function. The Mediterranean Diet is a great way to explore a healthy style of eating. Give it a try, what do you have to lose?

A great way to supplement a healthy diet is regular physical exercise. If already are a member of the Simon Family JCC, contact Tony Pearsall at 757-321-2321 or to schedule a fitness session. If you are not a member, call 757-321-2338 and ask for membership.

Note: The information presented here is not a substitute for medical advice. Consult a physician before starting any exercise. We suggest that you discontinue exercise immediately if you feel you’re exercising beyond your current abilities.

1. Welma Stonehouse, Cathryn A Conlon, John Podd, Stephen R Hill, Anne M Minihane, Crystal Haskell, and David Kennedy. DHA supplementation improved both memory and reaction time in healthy young adults: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr May 2013 vol. 97 no. 5 1134-1143
2. WebMD
3. Tsivgoulis, G, et al. 2013. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet and risk of incident cognitive impairment. Neurology, 80(18), 1684-1692.
4. Science Daily, March 2013