It’s well known that what food we consume directly impacts how we feel and how we look. Many of us have changed our diets to lose weight, increase energy, get glowing skin and improve how we feel. But did you know that food can also impact your brain?
Cognitive function is greatly influenced by our dietary choices. This is especially true as we age. Studies show that cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease are directly impacted by diet. Diets high in omega-6 fatty acids and sugar, like the Standard American Diet, are inflammatory and can have negative impacts on brain health.
Luckily, there are also foods that can have a positive impact on the brain. Here are three nutrition tips to boost cognitive function and keep your brain in tip-top shape.
Eat the rainbow. Fruits and veggies come in a wide array of beautiful colors. These bright colors come from the different nutrients found in these foods and include powerful antioxidants that play an important role in reducing oxidative stress, which can have a negative impact on cognitive health. By eating a variety of different colored produce, your brain can benefit from many different antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients.
Fight inflammation with omega-3 fatty acids. Inflammation is the enemy when it comes to brain health. Alzheimer’s disease is linked to inflammation of the neurons and neural pathways in the brain. To fight inflammation, it is important to have the correct ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (about 5:1 respectively). Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet is very high in omega-6’s and most of us are not consuming enough omega-3 fats (many Americans have a ratio of 15:1!). Some good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are grass-fed and finished beef and wild-caught fish like salmon.
Cut the sugar! Blood sugar imbalance is another source of inflammation in the brain and the body. If you get cranky between meals, feel “hangry” if you don’t eat or have big drops in energy throughout the day, you might be suffering from blood sugar imbalance. In order to keep blood sugar stable throughout the day, cut out processed carbohydrates and added sugars, and add in healthy fats and protein.
By making these simple changes to your diet, you could have a big impact on your brain health. Using these foods to fuel your cognitive function may increase your longevity and ward off cognitive decline and disease.
About the Author
Megan Wiley is a nutritional therapy practitioner and certified yoga teacher. She founded Wiley Wellness to empower people to take charge of their health through a full mind-body approach. By addressing the root cause of symptoms, she helps clients reclaim their physical and energetic health. For more great nutrition and mindset resources, find her on Instagram @wileywellness.