It’s an unfortunate reality: The brain, like everything else, changes with age. This might help explain why you’re having more trouble multitasking, or occasionally forgetting where to put your keys as you get older. While certain behaviors, such as lack of sleep, increase the risk of cognitive decline, others can support brain health. In fact, certain lifestyle changes can prevent or delay up to 40 percent of dementia cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One of the changes includes healthy snacks. According to a nutritionist, The combination of blueberries and walnuts provides the powerful combination of nutrients needed to keep your brain sharp.
“The best snack for brain health will be a plant-based snack — one that’s low in saturated fat and high in micronutrients,” says Rebecca Schilling, R&D, founder of Nutritionist Delivery. “Berry is rich in antioxidants, which protect the brain from free radical damage. Nuts provide vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, which in turn have been linked to improved cognitive function.”
The benefits of blueberries for the brain
Kitty Broihier, RDWild blueberries in particular may help improve memory and executive function, says Eating Habits Lab founder and nutritional advisor to the North American Wild Blueberry Association. According to Broihier, wild blueberries contain 33 percent more anthocyanins, a specific type of antioxidant, than regular grown blueberries.
“Studies have shown that subjects who consumed blueberries had a trend toward lower risk of verbal performance, memory discrimination, and cognitive decline,” she explained.
2019 in review Advances in Nutrition Eating more blueberries was found to be associated with slower rates of cognitive decline in older adults.
How walnuts keep your brain sharp
As for nuts, a 2014 study Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging Older women who ate five or more servings of nuts per week were found to have the brain power of two-year-old women. Other research suggests that consuming them on a regular basis may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as many other cognitive benefits.
Especially when it comes to protecting the brain, walnuts are a great option, says Samantha Cassetti, MS, RDco-author of sugar shockThere is some evidence that eating walnuts can improve performance in adults on tests of cognitive function, including memory, attention, and information processing speed.
“Both inflammation and oxidative stress play a role in brain aging, and the omega-3s and antioxidants in walnuts protect against these effects,” explains Cassetty.
A study in 2020 Journal of Aging Research It was found that women who consumed at least two servings of walnuts per week during their 50s and 60s were more likely to age healthily, including without memory impairment, than women who did not eat walnuts.
“Roasted walnuts are my go-to snack because they taste great on their own, but they also pair well with other brain-sharp foods,” Cassetti says.
How Eating Blueberries and Walnuts Can Benefit Your Brain
Blend fresh or dried blueberries with walnuts for an easy assortment of dried fruit you can enjoy on the go, pour them into smoothies, or sprinkle over yogurt, oatmeal, and chia seed pudding. Whatever you choose to eat these nutrient-dense superfoods, rest assured, your brain will thank you.
Rebecca Strong is a freelance health/wellness, lifestyle and travel writer based in Boston.read more