Brain health and brain function is generally linked to a person’s wellbeing considering the brain co-ordinates functionality in a healthy body. Every 65 seconds in the U.S. someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a statistic which is expected to increase to 33 seconds by 2050. Thankfully, science have come a long way and is finding more ways to improve brain longevity for a healthy long life.
Think of adopting ways to improve your brain health and function as an investment, you will be grateful you did in your future.
You can start with these three simple ways to improve your brain health:
Monitor your Vitamin D
Observational research discoveries show that blood low in vitamin D were found in Alzheimer’s patients where it’s also shown to correlate with low risk for Alzheimer’s disease where there is higher dietary intake of vitamin D. The link between vitamin D and brain longevity by research is not rock solid but there is an increasing suggestion that there is a huge connection however most people do not have their vitamin D levels checked in their annual blood work.
The next time you book your annual exam, ask to have your vitamin D levels checked too. If your blood levels have less than 50 nmol/L, then it’s considered inadequate and 30 nmol/L or less is deficient.
Think of adopting ways to improve your brain health and function as an investment
The most common source of vitamin D is unprotected sun exposure to the skin limited to 2-3, 15min sessions per week however depending on where you live, it might be a challenge to get adequate sun exposure to make enough vitamin D. There are however food sources of vitamin D that you can include in your diet. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, egg yolk and mushrooms. Your health care provider might also be able to recommend vitamin D supplements however this would require monitoring and retesting.
Improve Brain Function by Eating mostly fruit and vegetables
I’ve heard this one all my life and I’m almost certain most people have however fruits and vegetables could also protect your brain. Higher intake of fruits and vegetables has been linked to brain health by research with lower risk of Alzheimer’s and protection against depression. It’s generally the abundance of polyphenols in a lot of fruits and vegetables that increases the anti-inflammatory properties that is thought to improve protection of the brain against cognitive decline.
Also, folate and B6 in vitamin B which is found in fruits and vegetables is also said to be connected to mental health as research links higher intake of these vitamins with improved cognitive performance and reduced loss of brain tissue associated with aging. On the flip side, low folate levels are linked to the risk of depression.
Incorporating fruit and vegetables in your daily diet may not seem as simple as it sounds however it might just be as simple as reaching for a handful of blueberries daily or just adding them to your oats in the morning taking care of about 15% of your daily vitamin C requirements. As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects your cells from damage from oxidative free radicals.
Chicken, eggs and lima beans
New on the scene of brain health improvement is choline which is an essential nutrient with strong links to mental health. Required for neurotransmitters found in the brain to work effectively, choline aids memory retention and cognitive development. Choline is said to be important for brain performance and that it could help restore age-related cognitive function in healthy individuals.
Food sources for choline include eggs, lima beans, chicken, wheat germ and Brussels sprouts. Daily consumption of these foods can help towards the recommended daily intake (RDI) of 550mg a day even though it is difficult to meet this requirement through food alone hence supplements might also be worth it to meet this requirement.
* References: 3 Simple Foods That Build Brain Health
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