In honor of September marking ‘Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month’ we’ll highlight the produce that fosters improved brain health. Food and nutrition are proven to be one of the 6 pillars of brain health, and produce plays a large role in that pillar. There are a variety of fruits and vegetables that all lend themselves to improving brain health and memory, which are easy to incorporate into a daily duet. They include:
Spinach, kale, and collard greens all fall under the categorization of brain-healthy leafy greens. According to a study, daily helpings of these leafy greens lead to slower cognitive decline. The study dictates that a serving of these greens is defined as a half-cup cooked, or one cup or raw greens. The great thing about leafy greens is that they are versatile in their ability to be incorporated into a diet. Spinach and kale can be the base of a salad. Spinach is a perfect add-in to a breakfast omelette. Collard greens and spinach both work as a side to a balanced dinner.
Many berries have health-boosting effects, through their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries specifically have antioxidants which impact the brain and improve memory and communications between brain cells. Like leafy greens, blueberries are easy to incorporate into a diet. They are a staple of breakfast, whether as an add-in to cereal, yogurt, or smoothies. They also work an add-in to a salad, perhaps one that simultaneously delivers the daily dose of leafy greens.
It seems as though avocados have taken the world by storm in recent years, and for good reason. Avocados are a fruit that positively impacts blood pressure and blood flow. Improving blood flow can improve brain function. Whether as a substitute for butter on toast in the morning, an add-on to a sandwich or salad at lunch, or mashed into guacamole, avocados are an easy add-in to a brain-healthy diet.
Studies have shown that one serving of citrus fruit each day reduces the risk of dementia by 23%. The abundance of Vitamin C found in oranges also makes them something of a superfruit for the brain, beyond other citrus fruits. Vitamin C supports the health of an aging brain, while also fighting off things that can cause damage to brain cells. Furthermore, oranges contain high amounts of flavonoids. Flavonoids are known to improve memory and cognition. Oranges have been associated with a balanced breakfast for as long as there have been TV ads. Beyond breakfast (whether as a part of the meal or orange juice), oranges are an ideal mid-day snack and can be another add-on to that leafy green-based salad.
Eating for a healthy brain is not a tall order. It starts with one step: the right produce. Since produce is the cornerstone of any health-conscious diet, making brain-healthy choices at the produce aisle can make a significant impact on a person’s brain health in the future. Coupled with the other elements of a brain-healthy diet, fresh fruits and vegetables play an integral part in improving and maintaining a healthy, strong brain.
Posted on September 24 2018 in Blog