It is understood that a nutritious diet that includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains and is low in saturated fat and added sugar, but rich in good fats and nutrients, can reduce the risk of some of the most common chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. The saying "you are what you eat" is a well worn phrase indicating that food fuels our bodies. But food may also fuel our minds.
In recent years, research has explored whether a healthy diet can also help preserve cognitive function or even reduce the risk for brain diseases. A few key areas of nutrition have recently emerged as particularly promising, including healthy fats like the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), antioxidants, and a heart-healthy diet.
Here are some helpful tips for a nourished mind:
- Switch out saturated and trans fats for healthier fats like the ones found in olive oil and fatty fish such as salmon or trout.
- Maximize your intake of DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid that makes up 97 percent of the omega-3's in the brain, and is a must-have to support lifelong brain health. Find DHA in fatty fish such as salmon and trout, along with algal DHA fortified foods like juice, milk, eggs, tortillas, yogurt and algal DHA supplements.
- Aim for a varied diet rich in fresh, washed fruits and vegetables with the skin on to maximize the nutritional value. Make sure you're eating the colorful ones like red grapes, cranberries, blueberries and tomatoes.
- A healthy diet is the foundation for heart health as well. Manage your weight and keep cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure in check to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Are you getting enough DHA in your diet? Find out with our DHA Calculator!
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