Brain Health: Noteworthy Nutritional Patterns

It is known that the brain relies upon good blood flow to function properly. Is it within your power to support this blood flow and help preserve brain function? Yes, it is. See these updates on specific nutrition pointers that have been shown to support the health of our critical blood flow, and the health of the brain.

 

Healthful Fats Shown to Help

 

Did you know that fats are a critical component of every cell and have many important functions within the body? Fat also makes up 60 percent of the brain! You actually cannot live without it — but science now illustrates that choosing the right type of fat is what matters most. Make sure your diet includes polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3) and monounsaturated fats (omega-7, 9). Polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids are also important, but research shows most people obtain enough from the average diet, and more than this may instead be linked with negative effects, such as inflammation.

 

Fatty Acids Scientific Names Sources
Omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

oily fish including salmon, mackerel, Atlantic herring, albacore tuna, lake trout, sardines,

dietary supplements, some fortified foods

  alpha linolenic acid (ALA) Canola oil, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts,

dietary supplements

Omega-6 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) Dairy foods, some meat
  linoleic acid (LA) Meat, corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil; processed foods made with these oils
Omega-7, Omega-9 Oleic acid

Palmitoleic acid

Avocado, canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil

 

Mediterranean Diet

 

The Mediterranean area of the world is home to a wide variety of cultures and ways of eating. However, the people in this region of the world do share dietary patterns that are associated with lower death rates, fewer chronic diseases and may promote healthy aging.

 

Key elements of this eating pattern:

  • Colorful plant-based fruit and vegetables
  • Grain products, mostly whole grains
  • Beans, peas, lentils
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Lean protein
  • Yogurt (and fermented dairy products), cheese
  • Healthful mono- and poly- unsaturated oils like olive, canola
  • Nuts and dried fruits
  • Herbs and seasonings
  • Less sugar, saturated fat, salt

 

Make adjustments to your diet to include more of these healthful elements, and seek out dietary supplements to help fill in the gaps. Give it a thought, and take action for better brain health.

 

Reference

Duyff RL. 2017. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, 5th Ed. New York, NY. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.