Best Foods for Brain and Heart Health

All of the body’s different organs work together for health. And, recent studies have confirmed strong links between brain and heart health. Taking care of one aids the other, and neglecting one harms both. Now, researchers are seeing that a diet that helps heart health is also beneficial for the brain. This is excellent news as it let’s you kill two birds with one stone.
 
While we see so many heart stickers on boxes at the supermarket, it can be difficult to tell what is best. There is no specially designed diet for brain health. But better blood circulation and fewer free radicals aid function and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
 
The Mediterranean diet, repeatedly shown to help the heart, has a lot of benefits for the brain as well. People following the Mediterranean diet have been observed as having better cognition, a lower risk for Alzheimer’s and slower progression of mild cognition problems becoming dementia. The diet is rich in vegetables, fish and healthy fats — like avocados, nuts and olive oil. It doesn’t include many carbs, sweets or much red meat.
 
It hasn’t simply been observational studies (where people report what they ate and how they feel). A study with MRI scans and blood tests saw the brain benefits of the Mediterranean diet from people’s “enhanced functional brain network efficiency” and five “nutrient biomarker patterns” found in their blood.
 
Foods like fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, help the heart and improve circulation for the brain. Polyphenols from nuts aid memory and the function of the inner lining of the blood vessels, increases good cholesterol and boosts anti-platelet and anti-inflammatory activity. Vitamins and flavonoids from fruits and vegetables also play dual roles for the heart and brain.
 
While many diets have been proven to be good for the heart — like the DASH diet, vegan the flexitarian and more — few have additionally been linked to the brain. If you have concerns about your brain and heart health, speak to your doctor about whether the Mediterranean diet. For people who need specific nutrients, it might not be the right system for you. Each person is different, and while this diet has many benefits, no diet is one size fits all. Hopefully, even if the Mediterranean isn’t right for you, you can add some components of it to a different healthy meal plan to reap the rewards!
October 17, 2019
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