A Harvard nutritionist shares what she eats every morning to help the brain 'age well'
By Dr. Uma Naidoo/ Eating the right "brain-boosting foods" can significantly lower your risk of developing neurological problems, improve your mental health and help you stay sharp and focused.
And there are so many options, from leafy greens like spinach and kale to nuts like almonds and walnuts. But in my years of research, I've found one to be the most beneficial when it comes to helping your brain age well: blueberries.
Benefits of Blueberry for Brain Growth
I suggest adding 1/2 to a cup a day. Frozen blueberries are just as good as long as they don't have added sugars, juices or preservatives.
Versatile, affordable and absolutely delicious, here's why I love eating blueberries every morning:
1. They are rich in flavonoids
Blueberries are packed with flavonoids, which are plant compounds that provide a variety of health benefits. Studies have found that it can lower the risk of dementia.
People who eat a diet that includes at least half a serving a day of foods high in flavonoids may have a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline, according to a 2021 study that surveyed 49,493 women with an average age of 48. and 27,842 men with an average age of 51 years.
2. They are full of antioxidants.
Blueberries are rich in anthocyanin, a type of antioxidant that gives them their characteristic color. Anthocyanins support healthy stress tolerance and anti-inflammation throughout the body, especially in the brain.
Antioxidant phytonutrients—that is, plant nutrients—found in blueberries also calm inflammation in the body and brain and protect cells from damage.
3. They are rich in fiber.
I often talk about the deep connection between our gut and our brain - or what I call the "gut-brain romance".
Like antioxidants, fiber reduces inflammation and feeds the "good bacteria" in the gut. Blueberries are rich in fiber, allowing them to improve our microbiome health and reduce inflammation in the gut and brain.
4. They contain folate
Folate is an important vitamin that allows neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers inside our brains that regulate mood and cognition.