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Think about it: The foods you eat have a huge impact on your body, from your energy level to your heart health and beyond. Your brain is no exception, and research shows that things like the MIND (Mediterranean — Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet, which focuses on specific brain-beneficial food groups, is linked with better brain health as well as dementia prevention.
Research also shows that the same benefits can’t be obtained from consuming the same nutrients through supplements. While the reasons for this aren't completely understood, experts believe they may lie in how pills and foods metabolize in different ways in our bodies.
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Here are what experts say are the top five foods you should be eating for brain health, and easy ways to make room for them in your diet.
Of all of the foods included in the MIND diet, which was developed by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, leafy green vegetables stand out as an especially important category.
People between the ages of 58 to 99 who ate a heaping half-cup of cooked leafy greens, or a heaping cup of uncooked greens like lettuce each day, had less cognitive decline — the equivalent of 11 years less — than those who hardly ate any leafy greens, say researchers in one study published in the journal Neurology. MIND diet researchers recommend getting at least six such servings per week.
Get more: Start your day with a kale and mushroom omelet; mix a cup of baby spinach into pasta; dress your dinner plate with a handful of arugula before placing your entrée on top.