Brainpower For Life: 3 Foods To Boost Cognitive Function For Long-Term Health

  • General Health
  • general health - longevity
  • April 26, 2024

Boosting cognitive function improves productivity and decision-making. Some foods contain vitamins and minerals proven to help with brain health.

Do You Have Your Wits About You?

W ith age comes experience as well as the possibility of reduced cognitive function and brainpower. Cognitive function refers to mental abilities like recall, learning, and problem-solving. A sharp brain ensures optimal function for everyday tasks, work, and social interactions. At age 70, 2 out of 3 Americans are expected to experience some form of cognitive decline. In some cases, this could be chronic brain fog or memory loss. Other times, more severe diseases like dementia can develop. Keeping sharp cognitive function every decade depends on maintaining healthy practices such as diet and exercise.


Beat declining brain power with food

Keeping up with brain health is challenging as the brain is a demanding organ. Scientists estimate that the brain uses about half of the body’s daily glucose stores. The brain also needs sufficient vitamins, minerals, and quality calories for optimal function. The right foods help provide these nutrients, building nerve connections and sustaining energy for focus and concentration. Diet becomes even more critical with age as the body and organs suffer from wear and tear. These 3 foods are essential to boosting cognitive function, fueling the brain, and reducing disease risk.

1. Blueberries for antioxidant power

The body is at risk of oxidative stress, which happens when the body creates too many free radicals. These rogue molecules damage cells in the body, including the brain. Over time, free radical damage leads to cognitive decline and the development of brain-related diseases. Antioxidants are compounds required to offset and neutralize excess free radicals. Foods like blueberries are packed with antioxidants and have been shown to protect the brain against free radical damage, potentially slowing cognitive decline.

2. Brain-boosting salmon for omega-3s

Fatty fish like salmon contain omega-3s, a widely studied compound proven to help the body in multiple ways. Omega-3s can reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), heart attacks, and strokes. This important compound can also help with brain health. The effects of omega-3 fatty acids start as early as in the womb. Pregnant women who consume high amounts of omega-3s have children with improved cognitive health and decreased risk of developmental delays. Studies also link omega-3 consumption to improved brain health from middle age and beyond. Eating 1-2 servings of salmon per week and supplementation can support long-term brainpower.

3. Eat your greens to stay sharp

Parents encourage kids to eat greens and vegetables for good reasons. Dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale, keep the brain youthful and healthy. Many greens contain nitrates, which boost nitric oxide, a critical molecule involved in blood flow. High nitric oxide levels help transport more oxygenated blood to the brain, improving function. Dark, leafy greens are also antioxidant-rich, reducing the free radicals that lead to cognitive decline. Finally, dark leafy greens contain vitamin B-9 or folate, which is crucial for supporting neurotransmitters and reducing inflammation in the brain.

The long-term brain game

A healthy diet means a healthy brain. Foods containing sufficient antioxidants and vitamins can help reduce inflammation and support cell function. A daily diet containing blueberries, salmon, and greens can keep damage to a minimum. Combined with exercise, proper sleep, and stress management techniques, the risk of cognitive decline decreases significantly. Add supplements to fill nutritional gaps and boost brainpower, especially with age.

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