BERRIES AND CHERRIES
The beautiful rich colour of these fruits is due to the abundance of anthocyanins that they contain, a powerful phytonutrient with well-established activity against damage caused by free radicals. Brain ageing is associated with a progressive imbalance between antioxidant defense and increases in fat oxidation, protein oxidation, and DNA oxidation causing cell damage and insulin receptor signalling. Blueberries are especially beneficial because they are the highest in antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties and contain high levels of gallic acid, a phenolic compound known for being a potent protector from neuro-degeneration. Blueberries have also been shown to enhance memory.
Cacao has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its powerful healing properties. Raw cacao powder derived from the cacao plant pods and beans, contains over 300 different chemical compounds and is considered to be one of the most powerful antioxidant and neuroprotective foods. To get the most benefit as a therapeutic food, use raw cacao or opt for 70% dark chocolate (or darker!) with no added sugar or fillers.
HERBS AND SPICES
Not only give food flavour, they also possess powerful health benefits that reduce risk of cognitive decline. Some of the top herbs and spices include garlic, ginger, cinnamon, sage, turmeric, cumin, and rosemary. These spices can untangle and break up neuronal plaque and reduce brain inflammation. Turmeric in particular, is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits thanks to a deeply-yellow compound it contains called curcumin. Rosemary helps to prevent neurodegeneration by attacking and neutralizing damaging free radicals which cause cell damage.
In contrast to the long held but misguided recommendations of fat-free diet recommendations of the past, have demonstrated that eating fats is an essential part of a healthy diet. In fact, eating healthy fats can help with balancing blood sugar and reducing inflammation associated with cognitive decline. Salmon, sardines, and other low mercury, cold water fish are packed with omega3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) that are essential for healthy brain function. EPA is highly anti-inflammatory and supports healthy metabolism.
Not only rich in monosaturated fats, but also rich in vitamin C. They help boost levels of the most powerful antioxidant glutathione. They are also a good source of vitamin K and folate that positively affect cognitive function by improving blood and oxygen circulation to the brain. Nuts, including hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, and cashews, are a balanced source of omega-3s and omega-6s essential fats, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6 and magnesium.
CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES AND DARK LEAFY GREENS
Cruciferous veggies include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. These veggies contain sulphur-rich compounds, which give them their distinctive odour, They also have other brain beneficial nutrients; broccoli, for example, is an especially rich source of Vitamin C, choline and vitamin K. Green leafy veggies are loaded with antioxidants, minerals and phytonutrients that can help improve brain-power. Eat at least 2 cups a day of deep-coloured leafy greens like spinach, rainbow chard, and kale.