While there’s still no magic bullet that will guarantee a healthy brain, a new AARP survey points to a promising nutritional formula: What’s good for the rest of the body is good for the brain. The trick, experts say, is getting people to follow this commonsense guidance.
Adults age 40 and over who say they eat healthy foods most of the time are twice as likely as those who rarely eat a nutritious diet to rate their mental sharpness as “excellent” or “very good,” according to a new AARP consumer survey on brain health and nutrition.
The more fruits, vegetables and fish respondents say they eat, the better they rate their brain health and overall health. Sixty-three percent of the adults surveyed say they eat a healthy diet up to three or four days a week. Those who eat seafood in a typical week, but not red meat, report better brain health and higher average mental well-being scores than individuals who have red meat but not seafood.
The survey results are in line with new recommendations by AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), which conclude that a plant-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with better brain health and that eating fish and other seafood seems to improve cognitive function. In addition, excessive amounts of alcohol, saturated fats and salt are all harmful to brain health, according to the GCBH.
The foods that researchers say lead to brain health are the same ones that studies consistently show promote good heart health.