Diet & Nervous System

Diet & Nervous System

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    A well-balanced diet can help children of any age optimize their brainpower or thinking skills in and out of the classroom.
    • Start with the power of breakfast. Studies show eating breakfast improves attention and is associated with higher academic achievement. A good pick: whole-grain cereal, like oatmeal, topped with fruit and nuts.
    • Eat brain foods throughout the day. It's important to keep energy and concentration up with regular meals and snacks. Avoid items that can cause a sugar rush followed by a crash. Good picks: proteins (turkey, tofu, beans and nuts), whole grains and whole fruits and vegetables.
    Additional food for thought: A growing amount of research suggests omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish such as salmon, help feed critical brain cell membranes that may aid in learning and memory.
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  • 3 Answers
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    ADavid Perlmutter, MD, Neurology, answered
    What foods are good for brain health?

    Believe it or not, the foods that are best for your brain health and immune system contain...fat! In this video, neurologist David Perlmutter, MD, discusses how pure, natural sources of fat and cholesterol are actually ideal for a healthy brain.


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    ADawn Marcus, Neurology, answered
    Eating vegetables improves your mind. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago evaluated cognitive changes in 3718 adults 65 years old and older and followed for 6 years. They found that adults who typically ate more than 2 servings of a vegetable daily had a 40 percent reduction in the amount of mental deterioration over 6 years. This meant their minds looked like they were 5 years younger! All vegetables, except for legumes, slowed loss of intellectual functions. The greatest benefit, however, came from green leafy vegetables.
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    ALynne Kenney, Psychology, answered
    There are all kinds of claims for the abilities of nutritional supplements to enhance cognition. For example, vitamin B6 has been found to enhance memory (but far from conclusively) and there are many other claims being made by marketers for vitamins E, B12, folate, neurosteroids and so on.

    However, in reviewing the research the Academy of Medical Sciences points out that most of the studies are few, far between and small in scope.

    Verdict: Unproven, but probably not dangerous as long as you’re not exceeding the recommended daily allowances. On the downside supplements can be costly.

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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    1MinBetterHealth 029 BeKindToYourMind
    As people age, their memories tend to get foggy. In this video, Dr. Oz reveals the foods that are crucial to maintaining a good memory.



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    Fruits and vegetables provide a two-in-one weapon against brain decline. First, they help with weight control: Low in calories and rich in nutrients, they fill you up and fight deficiency-fueled cravings. Second: They provide antioxidants and other key compounds that help protect the brain.

    Research confirms that seniors who eat more vegetables experience significantly less age-related cognitive decline. Researchers at Rush University collected dietary data from 3,718 adults, ages 65 and older, and administered memory tests over the course of six years. It turned out that those adults who ate more than four servings (that’s 2 cups) of vegetables daily had a 38 percent lower rate of mental deterioration than those who ate less than one serving (half a cup) of vegetables per day.

    These findings constitute yet more evidence of the protective power of produce, following on the heels of Harvard research which found that middle-aged women who ate the most leafy greens, cruciferous veggies or a combination of both boosted their odds of maintaining mental sharpness in later years. Specifically, the women who ate eight or more servings of vegetables per week, like spinach and broccoli, scored higher on cognitive tests than those who consumed just three servings. 

    Blueberries might help you outsmart Alzheimer’s. In the first major study on the effect of fruits and vegetables in reversing neural cell damage, researchers at the Neuroscience Laboratory at Tufts University found that blueberry-supplemented animal subjects exhibited improved brain- and motor-function coordination. 

    Fresh apples—the peel in particular—have some of the highest levels of quercetin (which is also found in onions, broccoli, kale, blueberries, cranberries and red grapes). Some of the most exciting studies of this flavonol suggest it may help fight Alzheimer’s disease by protecting brain cells against oxidative stress. In an animal study at Cornell University, quercetin proved more powerful than the antioxidant vitamin C in neutralizing the kind of neural damage done by free radicals. “Fresh apples have some of the highest levels of quercetin … and may be among the best food choices for fighting Alzheimer’s,” says study author and professor of Food Science and Technology, C.Y. Lee.

    Other elements of a brain-healthy diet include nuts, seeds, fatty fish and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.

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  • 7 Answers
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    While physics would dictate that your food travels down after you eat it, a certain amount travels up to your brain (via arteries after it's been through the digestive process, of course). Among the best nutrients to help keep your cerebral power lines strong are omega-3 fatty acids—the kinds of fat found in fish like salmon and mahi-mahi. These healthy fats, which have been shown to slow cognitive decline in people who are at risk, not only help keep your arteries clear but improve the function of your message-sending neurotransmitters.

    Aim for 13 ounces of fish a week, or, if you prefer supplements, take 2 grams of fish oil a day (metabolically distilled), or DHA from algae (where fish get their omega-3s), or an ounce of walnuts a day. DHA is the omega-3 that seems best for the brain.

    Also load up on salad. The veggies, not the fat-laden dressing. It's been shown that vegetables—any kind, any place—slow cognitive decline even more than fruits. Eating two or more servings a day (just two!) decreases the decline in thinking by 35 percent over six years. Pass the sprouts, please.
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    AAARP answered
    Salmon and Supermarket

    For a sharp mind, go wild with fish. While fish is generally good for you, the metals that accumulate in farmed fish like tilapia may contribute to cognitive impairments. So when you're shopping, check that the fish is from the wild, not domestically raised, and stick with heart- and brain-healthy fish, such as salmon and sardines.

    Salmon and Supermarket
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    AAARP answered

    Replace the olive oil in your favorite vinaigrette with walnut oil. Walnut oil, which is chock-full of brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, cuts brain inflammation, a precursor to many cognitive problems. It also keeps oxygen-rich blood flowing to your brain by thinning the blood slightly.

    
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    AAARP answered

    Research shows that people who fast one day a week or month unlock a unique form of blood glucose that helps the brain more efficiently transmit information. Then break your fast with brain-healthy blueberries, walnuts and maybe a glass of red wine.