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Five Healthy Foods For Your Brain

July 11, 2014 6:00 AM

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Courtesy of Richard H. Carmona

Photo Courtesy of Richard H. Carmona


Canyon Ranch is one of the oldest and most well-regarded health spas in the world, with three locations across the US. Dr. Richard H. Carmona is the President of the Canyon Ranch Institute and Vice Chairman of Canyon Ranch. He served as US Surgeon General from 2002-2006, and in his groundbreaking book from Simon & Schuster, Canyon Ranch 30 Days to a Better Brain, he discusses five foods that can dramatically improve your brain’s functioning.


When it comes to maintaining and even enhancing brain health, choosing the right foods is critically important. The latest studies have shown that the ability to retain healthy brain cells as well as increase the number of new cells and neural connections is significantly influenced by the foods we eat every day. The quality of these brain cells is just as important as the quantity, and the choices we make at the table can either support brain function or work against it.

The following five foods are delicious, simple ways to keep your brain healthy and strong for life. So eat and enjoy!

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Whole Grains:

Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and even popcorn (air popped, not the microwave kind) are chock full of Vitamin B. Many people who are experiencing cognitive dysfunction may be deficient in B vitamins, a nutrient common in whole grains.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Blueberries:

A study from Tufts University’s Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging reported the positive effects of wild blueberries on mild cognitive impairment. And according to a 2006 study from Rush University Medical Center, just 2.8 servings (about a cup and a half) of blueberries a day have been shown to decrease memory loss.

Related: Stacy Stowers’ Healthy Way to Shake Up Your Diet

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Eggs:

The brain nutrient choline, found in fat, is important for improving cognitive function.  According to a 2011 study, people who get plenty of choline in their diets may perform better on memory tests and be less likely to show brain changes associated with dementia. Choline is found in abundance in egg yolks, so don’t just opt for egg whites.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Flaxseed Or Flax Oil:

Every cell membrane in the brain contains—and requires—fatty acids in order to survive. Neither the brain nor the body produce omega-3 fatty acids: they must come from the diet. The most prominent omega-3 is EPA, which is produced from the consumption of alpha-linolenic acid found in flaxseed or flax oil. I recommend adding a teaspoon of flax oil to a bowl of yogurt every morning, since eating it on its own isn’t for everyone.

Related: Five Unexpected Uses For Tea

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Cold Water Fish Like Salmon Or Tuna:

Another omega-3 fatty acid is DHA, which is found in cold water fish. DHA is involved in the earliest stages of brain development as well as visual function, and can continue to enhance brain health throughout your life.

Canyon Ranch is one of the oldest and most well-regarded health spas in the world, with three locations across the US. Dr. Richard H. Carmona is the President of the Canyon Ranch Institute and Vice Chairman of Canyon Ranch. He served as US Surgeon General from 2002-2006, and in his groundbreaking book from Simon & Schuster, Canyon Ranch 30 Days to a Better Brain, he discusses five foods that can dramatically improve your brain’s functioning.
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