So, what kinds of brain foods make the MIND cut for improved memory and concentration? Here’s the skinny:
Put away the Wonder bread. We’re talking grains like quinoa, oats, wild rice and brown rice three or more times a day.
Kale, spinach, broccoli, collard greens — the stuff of a dietitian’s dream. Try to get more than six servings a week.
Think carrots, beets and colorful veggies that are neither white (potatoes) nor leafy and green. Aim for more than a serving a day.
Walnuts, almonds, pistachios — try to get five or more 1-ounce servings each week. Certain nuts are a great source of fatty acids. (Peanuts also count, even though they’re technically legumes.)
Shoot for four or more servings a week of black, pinto, kidney or navy beans, or legumes like lentils and chickpeas.
MIND guidelines suggest two or more servings of crowd-pleasing blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries each week. Berries, especially blueberries, are a great source of antioxidants.
Add turkey or chicken to your meal plan twice a week.
Once or more a week, enjoy a meal with cod, catfish, shrimp, salmon, sardines, scallops, tuna or another “blue food.” These foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients.
If you need to work with added fat, try to make it olive oil. In fact, you should strive to get less than one tablespoon of butter or margarine daily. Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E.
What all these foods have in common is their virtues: They’re high in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also minimally processed.
For those who feel like they aren’t getting all the nutrients they need, Axman recommends discussing supplements with a healthcare provider. (This is more than an obligatory disclaimer: Some supplements can interact with prescribed medications in dangerous ways, so definitely check before taking them.) Vitamin D3, B-complex vitamins, fish oil, SAM-e, acetyl-L-carnitine and N-acetyl-cysteine have all been shown to “improve mood and preserve cognitive function,” Axman says.