Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are the building blocks of a well functioning brain. Many seniors start to develop cognitive impairment as they age not because they are simply getting older, but because their nutrition is lacking. Aside from quitting smoking, staying active, and continuing to challenge yourself intellectually to keep your brain working well into your centenarian years, here is a list of foods, primarily those which contain monounsaturated fats or ‘healthy fats’, which can keep you reciting poetry from memory or recalling your childhood friends’ names like you just saw them yesterday.
- 1. Avocados – This fruit/nut/vegetable helps to keep your brain working at top speed with healthy fats, lots of potassium, fiber, Vitamin E, B-complex and folic acid. The health benefits of avocados are amazing.
- 2. Peanuts, Walnuts, Almonds and Pecans – As long as you don’t have a tree nut allergy, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and pecans are wonderful for boosting brain health. They also help to prevent gallstones, fight depression with tryptophan, aid in blood sugar reduction with manganese, boost memory with vitamin B3, increase cognitive ability with vitamin B2, and protect against cancer with a form of phytosterol called beta-sitosterol (especially in peanuts). To keep from going nuts, eat your nuts.
- 3. Healthy Hormone Free Meat – If you aren’t a vegan, eating chicken and turkey can help to boost brain power as you age. Eggs, another form of animal protein, can also help boost cognitive processes. Stick with organic and free-range eggs and meat and you can enjoy high levels of Omega’s as well as amino acids, which are both brain cell building blocks.
- 4. Mackerel and Herring – These oily fish are especially full of nutrients and fats we need to keep our brains working. They have fat-soluble vitamins like A and D, selenium, protein, and healthy Omega 3 fats including EPA and DHA. Eating oily fish can keep you thinking straight well into your 90s while the healthful fats also help with issues like ADHD and ADD.
- 5. Red Palm, Coconut, Olive, and Sunflower Oils – Lots of healthy medium chain triglycerides and ‘healthful fats’ can be found in these oils. What’s more, oleic and lauric acids are good for the brain. Olive and coconut oil contain important medium chain fatty acids (monounsaturated fatty acids) that your body and brain need as well. These types of good fats may even help to prevent Diabetes type II. (The coconut oil and Alzheimer’s connection should especially be recognized).
You don’t have to wait until you’re collecting social security and walking around with a cane to consume these foods. Start consuming these healthful foods now and keep them in your diet for good health as you age.
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Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.