Updated: Aug 24
One of the best ways to keep yourself healthy is by watching what you eat. A good diet keeps you healthy and helps you prevent age-related cognitive disorders like dementia. Having a variety of food is essential to getting enough vitamins and nutrients for your brain.
Whole foods are a great source of these nutrients. Although you can get vitamins and minerals from nutritional supplements, eating a balanced diet helps the body absorb nutrients better. Here are some brain-boosting nutrients and the best sources for them!
This vitamin protects the body from oxidative stress and functions as an antioxidant. The brain is susceptible to oxidative stress, which increases during ageing, and Vitamin E protects it from that. It also prevents damage from free radicals, unstable molecules in the body. Get your daily dose of Vitamin E from avocado, red bell pepper, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, mangos, asparagus, and pumpkins.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Doctors and nutritionists always include fatty fish like tuna and salmon in food lists for people watching their intake. These types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are unsaturated fats that act as the building blocks of the brain's cell membrane. Omega-3 also has anti-inflammatory and brain-protecting effects, and it has been linked to lower levels of beta-amyloid, a key protein in Alzheimer's-related damage. Besides fish, you can get omega-3s in nuts, seeds, eggs, and yogurt.
Vitamins B6, B12, and B9 are the main contributors to brain health. Deficiencies in any of them could increase the risk for cognitive decline and memory loss. These vitamins boost the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that deliver messages from the brain to the body.
You can find B6 in papaya, tuna, salmon, bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, poultry, and dark leafy greens. Meanwhile, get B9 or folate from whole grains, eggs, leafy greens, peanuts, broccoli, and sunflower seeds.
You can mostly find B12 in meat and fish products; if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, nutritional yeast can help you get your dose of B12. Talk to your dietitian or doctor to learn about how you can boost levels of B12—people on plant-based diets are at risk for B12 deficiency. Your local natural food store would also have supplements for you.
Vitamin C doesn't only boost your overall immune system. It also reduces the likelihood of brain-damaging inflammations! People who consume food rich in this vitamin are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Get your daily dose of this vitamin from citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, and kiwi. Red and green bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are also full of this vitamin, so get servings of those in your meals as well.
Consuming whole foods is a holistic and natural way of getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. You can boost your brain health by eating these vitamin- and nutrient-rich food. Supplements aren't meant to replace your food—they are supposed to complement your intake, so get these good foods in your diet today!
When you shop at Foods for Life, you make your health a priority. We are a health food store in Toronto specializing in healthy foods, herbs and botanicals, vitamins, and supplements. We also sell in bulk—drop us a line or visit our Bloor West Village store for inquiries!