FB 25 Feb 14 - 5

If you have been up-to-date with the buzz about foods and dietary supplements, you’ll know by now that they can do everything from sharpen focus to enhance memory, attention span, and brain function. But the question is; how well do they really work? There’s no denying that as we age, our body ages right along with us. The good news is that you can improve your chances of maintaining a healthy brain if you add healthy foods and drinks to your diet.

But first, let’s cross-reference two most common brain issues;

CONGNITIVE DECLINE
If you think cognitive decline isn’t something that starts to happen until after age 60, think again. A new study from the British Medical Journal showed that cognitive decline – a decrease in memory and reasoning capacity – can start to affect our brains as early as 45!

ALZHEIMER’s DISEASE
Healthy eating lowers your risk of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, but it’s not yet clear if that’s true for Alzheimer’s disease as well. There is insufficient evidence that food, diet, or lifestyle will prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not a lost cause though. There are foods that researchers think will keep your whole body – including your brain – healthy.

Now let’s check them out;

VEGETABLES
A 2006 study in Neurology showed that people who ate two or more daily servings of vegetables, especially leafy greens, had the mental focus of people five years their junior. Have a big salad for lunch; serve some spinach at dinner… just eat lots and lots of veggies.

WHOLE GRAINS
Studies show that eating a breakfast of whole grains helps sustain mental focus better than a morning meal of refined carbohydrates or no breakfast at all. Two to try: whole-grain cereal with milk or eggs with whole-wheat toast.

CAFFEINE
There’s no magic bullet to boost IQ or make you smarter – but certain substances, like caffeine, can energize you and help you concentrate. Found in coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, and some medications, caffeine gives you that unmistakable wake-up buzz, though the effects are short-term. And more is often less: Overdo it and it can make you pretty jittery and uncomfortable.

Finally, although it’s not technically a food, but a 2011 study found that people who chewed gum during a stressful task were more alert afterwards than when they did the task without gum.

Do you have any other healthy foods to add to this list?