Food for Thought — 5 Brain Food Groups for “Smartifying” Your Brain

February 06, 2016

The list of brain related problems grows longer as we age. Disease, such as dementia, impact the quality of life that we have as we age. Can what we eat make a positive impact on staving off mental decline? Studies suggest that our diet can help to keep our brain from declining. In this “smart-o-licious” blog we discuss some of the foods that help your brain stay strong.

Is it a Diet or a Way of Life?

senior_eating_fruitThere are a lot of diets out there and some, such as the MIND diet, target improved brain health. We have known for a while about the positive benefits of antioxidants and the push to get seniors to eat more blueberries. Those benefits have since been confirmed by studies. The MIND diet is composed of groups of foods from which seniors can choose during meal preparation. Also, living in a senior community with a comprehensive meal plan can take on the brunt of preparing healthy meals for you.

When it comes to food, studies suggest that the color of food is important. Studies have shown, via MRI scans, that foods with blue and purple color affect the brain in a positive way. Scientists believe that the correlation has to do with special phytonutrients that are found in foods with blue or purple pigmentation.

Other foods in the MIND diet include things like leafy green vegetables, beans, whole grains, lean meats and fish, such as salmon.

How Important is Color when it comes to Diets?

In the Korean culture, they base meals on color. Meal composition comes from five color pallets. The idea is that each color of food represents a partial list of nutrients and vitamins. By combining foods from the five major color groups, each meal becomes balanced or complete in terms of nutrients.

Blue foods, such as blueberries, blackberries, and purple cabbage fall into the category of foods that help our brains. One of the potential problems of using a specific brain diet is that you may rob your body of nutrients that help support other body organs, such as your heart. Some foods, also, interact negatively with certain medications, such as blood thinners. It can be worthwhile to talk with your doctor before making a radical change to your diet.

In fact, a good way to help your overall health status is to focus on foods that help all of your body’s systems. Your doctor may have some suggestions, but a nutritionist or dietician may have better answers that fit easily into your lifestyle.

If you are concerned about brain function, then consider upping the number of blue foods and berries in your daily diet. One last concern is to consider sugar intake. Some berries, such as dried blueberries may be treated with sugar. A good tip is to read the label and find foods that are naturally sweetened.

In the meantime, enjoy life and good health, but think about “smartifying” your diet by adding quality foods that help your brain function.

Interested in more information on a healthy and active lifestyle? Download our free guide for tips to stay happy, healthy and active.

 

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