Healthy foods for a healthy brain

Metro Service

■ Chronicle / News Service

We all know that saying “you are what you eat.” But most of the time, we associate our diets with the effects our food has on our external bodies – losing weight, gaining weight, getting in shape, and so on. However less tangible, the food we put into our bodies has a direct effect on our brain health and function as well.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that our brains need certain nutrients to function optimally. And the older we get, the more quality nutrients we require to keep our brains healthy and functioning properly. To boost your memory and keep your brain moving quickly, consider adding the following foods to your diet.

Healthy fats. Our brain is highly dependent on fats. So many people steer clear of any type of fats, but fats are fuel for our brains that keep us focused and quick on our feet. Not to mention, fats help keep us full longer, which keeps hunger at bay. Incorporating foods filled with unsaturated fats (also known as “good” fat) is essential to your brain health. Examples of “healthy” fat-rich foods include seeds, nuts, avocados, olives or olive oils, coconut or coconut oils.

Antioxidants. Foods rich in antioxidants are not only important to protecting us against brain diseases, but also help to maintain the synapses in our brain firing properly by reducing inflammation. Fruits and vegetables like blueberries, broccoli, beets and celery are all examples of antioxidant-rich brain foods. These are all high in fiber too, which will aid in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy gut.

Omega 3s. By now, you probably know how important omegas are for our bodies. Turns out, they are also great for our brains. Most fish – and many nuts and seeds – are rich in the necessary Omega 3s that help our brains function optimally (think: salmon, walnuts, chia seeds). If you feel you aren’t able to get enough of these foods into your diet, talk to your doctor about taking supplements high in Omega 3s you can incorporate into your diet instead.
Inter Valley Health Plan is hosting a free class to teach you how to maintain a healthy brain at its Medicare and Information Vitality Center in Hemet on Thursday, July 20 at 10 a.m. Registered nurse Marcie Lerner examines five key components that help keep your brain young and healthy in a fun, interactive class. The class will be held at Inter Valley Health Plan Medicare and Information Vitality Center, 214 E. Stetson Ave. (at State Street) in Hemet. RSVP by visiting forhealthandliving.com/ivhpevents or call 800-251-8191, ext. 625 or TTY 711.

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