Feed your brain

27 Feb 2017 | 01:29

Attempting challenging puzzles and reading up on the theory of relativity aren’t the only ways to keep your brain at its finest.
The right diet also can do wonders, improving the brain’s function and even helping to reverse brain damage,” says Daniel Amen, M.D., a clinical neuroscientist and brain imaging expert, and the author of the New York Times bestseller “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life."
Meanwhile, he said, the opposite also is true. Poor diet choices not only hurt the waistline, but have a negative effect on the brain.
“When it comes to the brain, sugar is public enemy No. 1," said Dr. Amen.“Sugar is insidious, sort of like heroin. It will make you want it over and over again. It’s like dating the bad boys. You fall in love with something that beats you up.”
Sugar has company on Amen’s list of unfriendly brain foods, including a few surprises, such as corn, which has one of the worst fatty-acid profiles of any vegetable. Others on the avoid-at-all-costs list include artificial dyes, especially red dye; foods with trans fats, such as cookies, cakes and pie crusts; and low-fiber foods, which include many fast-food choices.
Fortunately, there are also great food options that can heal the brain and even help reverse brain damage, Dr. Amen says. Those include:
Healthy fats. Fat is not the enemy. That’s because there are “good fats” and “bad fats.” Some examples of good fats are olives, sunflower seeds and flaxseed.
Fish. Salmon, halibut, sardines, mackerel and other fish are loaded with healthy oils and healthy fat.
Avocados. This nutrient-dense fruit is loaded with healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, which build brain-cell membranes, reduce brain inflammation and promote new brain-cell formation.
Raw nuts. Go easy on the amount because they pack a lot of calories, but raw nuts are very healthy for the brain.
Chocolate. Here’s another surprise. Chocolate also has been shown to decrease cravings and increase blood flow to the brain. It’s what usually is added to chocolate – sugar and dairy products – that makes it bad.
Colorful vegetables. Green is great, but with vegetables you can branch out into such choices as yellow squash, purple carrots and orange bell peppers. “