Olive oil may help preserve memoryElena Veselova/Shutterstock
OIive oil is also an important part of the Mediterranean diet, and more new research has shown how that specific ingredient may boost the brain’s memory powers. (Here’s how olive oil staves off Alzheimer’s.) “A recent study found that compounds in extra-virgin olive oil may reduce brain inflammation as well as activate a process in which cells break down and remove debris and toxins,” Palinski-Wade says. “This process fights against the buildup of plaque and neurofibrillary tangles, which are suspected to contribute to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.” She recommends replacing animal-based fats with monounsaturated fat, like olive oil, to provide another layer of protection for brain health.
More food for thoughtmubus7/Shutterstock
What other foods can benefit brain health? Among the best brain foods is salmon, rich in omega-3s. “DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources have been found to be protective to the brain and contribute to improved memory function in older adults,” Palinski-Wade says. In addition, she says foods rich in vitamin C have been shown to reduce the impact of stress hormones, which can have negative effects on the brain. The overall message is to eat whole, healthy foods. “A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low in sodium, such as the DASH diet protocol, appears to be beneficial to the brain as it can help to reduce blood pressure, improve vascular health, and provide a diet rich in antioxidants that can be protective to neurons in the brain,” Palinski-Wade says. Don’t miss the other best foods for boosting brain health.
Certain foods are bad for brain healthMihajlo Ckovric/Shutterstock
One ingredient that can be bad for the brain is sugar. Although your noggin needs glucose to function, too much has been shown to have detrimental effects. “Avoiding large amounts of added sugar is also key to brain health,” Palinski-Wade says. “Even in teens, just one soda per day was associated with a decline in test scores.” In addition, too much sugar may accelerate aging of cells, according to Harvard Medical School. Diabetes, a high-glucose disorder, is also associated with negative consequences for brain function and can lead to cognitive difficulties. Here are more of the worst foods for your brain.