Thursday, October 3, 2013

6 Ways to Keep Your Brain from Aging

6 Ways to Keep Your Brain from Aging


Elderly man photoAs we age, we need all the help we can get when it comes to preventing dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and generally keeping your brain from aging. In fact, your brain is an average 15 percent smaller when you’re 80 then it was when you were 20.  
And diet seems to have a real impact on your brain overtime, the way you feed your body can actually keep your brain from aging. Here's how:
1. Eat sardines. 
A study at the University of Oregon Health and Science School found that those who tested high for omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D experienced less brain shrinkage than those that didn’t. Sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D; they have a number of benefits that other sources of omega fatty acids do not have. Namely, they're much less polluted with mercury when compared to other fatty fish like tuna and salmon. 
2. Indulge in shellfish.
Shellfish are high in B-12 as well as B vitamins like folate and B6, which are known to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease. A small Finnish study published in the journal Neurology, found that people who consumefoods rich in B12 may reduce their risk of Alzheimer's, a disease that permanently damages the brain, in their later years. 
3. Avoid trans-fats.
Diets high in trans-fats promote brain shrinkage, according to a study published in the journal Neurology. Those who ate the most trans-fats performed the worst on thinking and memory tests. Trans-fats tend to be found in fast food, pre-packaged foods, and margarine spreads, though there has been a move to remove trans-fats from the American diet because of its impact on heart disease.  
4. Eat elderberries.
Elderberries are a tiny, dark purple berry, popular in pies, jams, and jellies. They're packed with quercetin, a flavonoid that’s critical to your brain’s health. Like blueberries and strawberries, the flavonoids found in elderberries help reduce harmful inflammation at a cellular level. Quercetin boosts your mitachondrial level, the cell powerhouse, which amps the overall energy level of the cell.
Beets photo5. Enjoy beets.
Poor blood flow throughout the body and especially in your brain causes mental decline as we age. Beets are packed with natural nitrates that help improve blood flow. Consider cabbage and radishes as well. 
6. Keep it social.
A Dutch study linked loneliness in old age to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, it’s important to note that being alone and loneliness are not the same thing. 
Credit: iStock/Thinkstock
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