Brain health: Here is what you should add to your diet, foods to avoid

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KEY STORY

  •  The human brain is, without a doubt, one of the most important organs of the body. This complex organ actively participates in almost every important bodily function including memory, touch, vision, motor skills, and more. The important role increases the requirement for shielding it from harm and undertaking steps towards the enhancement of its function. Inadequate care and ignorance may lead to an increased risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases that can cause irreversible brain impairment. Some common neurodegenerative diseases include Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Nutrition is a primary factor that regulates the healthy functioning of the body and can contribute immensely to improving brain health.
    Cognitive health – Foods to eat
    Here are some foods that can enhance your cognitive health:
    1. Fatty fish: Varieties of fatty fishes such as herring, sardines, and salmon are a rich source of healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. A major part of the brain constitutes omega-3 fatty acids thereby making it an essential nutrient required to maintain and enhance brain health.
    2. According to a review published in Bentham Science titled “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and their Role in Central Nervous System – A Review”, omega-3 fatty acids are important to reduce the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases.
    3. Walnuts: Nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, and pecans are a rich source of healthy fats and protein. Several studies, such as the study published in the journal Nutrients titled “Beneficial Effects of Walnuts on Cognition and Brain Health” have shown the beneficial effects of walnuts in enhancing brain health thereby improving memory and function. Walnuts are versatile foods and can be added to the diet as a part of breakfast, snack, or salad.
    4. Berries: If you wish to add flavour, health, and colour to your diet, you must definitely add berries to your grocery shopping list. According to a study published in the Journal of Food Biochemistry titled “Understanding oxidants and antioxidants: Classical team with new players”, antioxidants can have therapeutic effects against neurodegenerative, inflammatory, and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, adding berries such as blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries to your diet can help enhance brain health.
      Cognitive health – Foods to avoid
      Here are some foods that you must eliminate from your diet for better cognitive health:
      1. Soy sauce: According to a research published in the journal Hypertension titled “Impact of Hypertension on Cognitive Function: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association”, it was found that mismanaged condition of hypertension can cause adverse effects on cognitive health. Excessive consumption of salt can lead to an increased risk of hypertension and condiments such as soy sauce contain a high amount of salt and must be avoided. However, consuming little portions to add flavour is safe.
      2. Frozen and canned foods: Foods such as canned tuna, frozen meats, and frozen meals contain preservatives, salt, and trans fats. Studies have shown incidents of lowered cognitive function due to consumption of trans fats and therefore must be avoided for a healthy brain. Homecooked and fresh meals, despite the preparation time, must be preferred.
      3. Alcohol: Consumption of wine, beer, whiskey, and other forms of alcohol must be avoided as they can harm the body and the brain. Lowered communication ability, confusion, and memory loss are some common consequences of chronic consumption of alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol can hamper motor functions which can increase the risk of sustaining brain trauma. This must be avoided as it can cause short- and long-term damage to the brain.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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