If we were to tell you that what you eat affects your brain health, you would probably roll your eyes. We’ve all heard—for years!—about brain food. We know we’re supposed to eat blueberries and spinach. We know that they contain antioxidants and will counteract inflammation in our bodies. We know that in some mysterious way this is supposed to help us stay mentally sharp as we age.
What most people don’t know is that the food you eat literally reshapes your brain. Below is a list of some lesser-know, brain-friendly foods and how they can promote brain health. Which ones will you add to your next meal?
Brain-Boosting Diet Tips
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a gold mine of vitamins and antiplatelet ingredients that ease flow in blood vessels, thus increasing oxygen supply to the brain. A recent study showed that men with the highest blood levels of lycopene, derived from tomatoes, were 55 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than those with the lowest levels of lycopene.
- Red Grapes: The skin of red grapes contains resveratrol, a compound with antioxidant properties that has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain. Resveratrol protects against heart disease by reducing inflammation and blood clotting. It is believed to also protect against cancer and diabetes.
- Spinach: Like blueberries, spinach has been shown to be an antioxidant with brain benefits. In addition to being high in protein, spinach is a good source of vitamins A, C, K, E, and B, as well as calcium.
- Cocoa: Flavonoid-rich cocoa has been shown to reduce blood-pressure, thanks most likely to its blood-flow improving properties. (Look for products that have at least 70 percent coca.)
To experience the benefits of a bigger, better brain learn more in Boost Your Brain by Majid Fotuhi, M.D., Ph.D.