Generally speaking, foods that are rich in nutrients help in your overall health even as you age. However, some foods are simply better than others, especially when it comes to long-term cognitive function and health.
It is said that the food you eat can affect your brain health and power. In fact, doctors have long believed that brain-based nutrition can boost your mental energy, guard against mental fatigue and even fight off various diseases as you age.
A recently published study shared by Well+Good puts all of these in detail:
Important Food Groups For Fighting Cognitive Decline With Age
In new research published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, scientists have found the four most important food groups for preventing cognitive decline with age.
The study, which was conducted on nearly 9,000 middle-age to elderly participants in Canada, found that those who consumed less fruits, vegetables, nuts and pulses (e.g. beans, lentils) were more likely to experience cognitive decline. This means that berries, avocado, black beans, nut butters and other fruits, veggies, nuts and pulses all play a beneficial role in your brain power as you grow older.
These results were reached by the study authors through a cognitive indicator known as verbal fluency. Verbal fluency is a test that asks you to list off as many given words as possible within a single category. Also at cognitive risk are those who are single, socially disadvantaged and suffering from hypertension.
The new findings make sense when past studies on nutrition’s link to cognitive decline are put into context. For example, researchers have long known that omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts have been found to boost memory and cognitive skills. Studies have also shown that blueberries have been found to increase activity in the brain’s memory center.
What To Do
If you are interested in eating to keep your brain healthy and functioning in the future, you can try checking your daily recommended intake of fruits and veggies —
that is, 4 and 1/2 cups of each daily —
and you can mix lentils or peas into salads with a small handful of nuts. For pulses, you can get your fill from red lentil pasta tossed with plenty of veggies and cashew cheese-based sauce. As for fruits, you can eat at least a handful of berries as snacks or as part of your morning oatmeal. Just be sure that before going to bed, you tick off all the boxes for each of the four food groups.