You think of food to fuel (and reward!) your workouts, but it also can improve your brainpower. A study from Rush University in Chicago found that adults who followed a heart-healthy diet reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50 percent compared to those who didn’t.
The diet, a hybrid of Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), is called MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay—phew), and was developed by researchers who found that people following meal plans designed to curb heart disease and type 2 diabetes also had lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease.
Beans In addition to fueling long runs and keeping you regular, these complex carbs are high in antioxidants to fight inflammation, keeping your brain healthy.
How Often: Every other day
Berries Berries may decrease neuron loss and improve memory performance.
How Often: At least twice per week
Colors indicate that a food is rich in antioxidants, which help protect neurons from age-related decay.
How Often: Once per day
Greens Leafy greens are rich in folate, which researchers have linked to slower rates of brain decline.
How Often: A salad per day
Nuts Walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, and pistachios are rich in fiber, fat, and vitamin E (walnuts are the best for your mind).
How Often: Daily handful
Olive Oil Olive oil, high in healthy fat, protects the blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the brain.
How Often: Daily
Poultry Research suggests that the vitamin B12 in chicken and turkey may play a role in fighting age-related decay in the brain.
How Often: 3 to 4 oz. twice per week
Red Wine and Dark Red Juices In moderation, red wine can help ward off brain decline, thanks to its antioxidants. Unsweetened grape and pomegranate juices can, too.
How Often: No more than 5 oz. of wine (a typical glass) daily
Salmon and Seafood The omega-3 fats in many fish are crucial for development and maintenance of brain health.
How Often: 3 to 4 oz. at least once per week
The B vitamins and vitamin E in whole grains, like whole wheat, oats, wild rice, and quinoa, may decrease risk of Alzheimer’s by ridding the body of compounds linked to brain damage.
How Often: Three servings per day