Eat for Brain Health with the Cognition Kitchen Guide
The human brain is remarkable and arguably one of the most important organs in the body, yet many people take their brain health for granted. To bring attention to this issue and provide ideas for incorporating brain-healthy foods into the diet, the Wild Blueberry Association of North America has chosen Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month to team up with three nutrient-dense food commodities–the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation, the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), and the American Egg Board’s Egg Nutrition Center. Together, these associations have developed a consumer-friendly guide about eating for brain health, which shines a light on the importance of having a well-rounded, brain healthy diet at all ages. The main message of the guide? It’s never too early to start taking care of your brain!
“Eating a brain-healthy diet means including an array of foods–that’s why we’re so excited to partner with these food groups to create this easy-to-use guide,” says Kitty Broihier, MS, RD and Nutrition Advisor for the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. “The Cognition Kitchen guide is a free consumer resource that provides science-based, but simple, information about these brain-healthy foods. Inside the guide consumers will find a selection of recipes and details on how these four foods help nourish a healthy brain.”
Each of these nutritious food groups was chosen to be included specifically because of the research that supports their brain-healthy attributes (and of course, their delicious taste). The 27-page guide details:
- The science behind eating for brain health
- The type of diets that support brain health
- Some recommended foods to add to your grocery list
- Why these partner food associations help support a healthy brain
- Health information about each food group
- Healthy/accessible recipes that people of all ages will love
Every day, the scientific community is learning more about the important connections between brain health, mental health, mood, and the food we eat. Brains function best when they get the right fuel—and that fuel comes from eating a healthy diet filled with nutrient-packed foods like fruits (especially wild blueberries), vegetables, eggs, nuts, and seafood.
The guide is free and available for download at www.cognition-kitchen.com.
Why Wild Blueberries Are Nicknamed “Brain Berries”
Research has linked blueberries and cognition since the 1990s and has shown that these tiny blue wonders can improve various measures of cognitive ability for all ages—children, teens, middle-aged adults, and older adults. Much of the focus on cognitive benefits is due to the flavonoid content of the wild berries—particularly the anthocyanins (and by the way, research shows wild blueberries contain more anthocyanins than any other commonly consumed berry in the US diet, including ordinary blueberries). What’s more, Wild blueberries taste amazing, and have a more intense blueberry flavor than ordinary blueberries. Find them in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store and add a daily healthy scoop of wild to your diet!
Wild Blueberries recently launched a brain health content hub on their website to complement the Cognition Kitchen guide. Read more about these tiny, potent berries and their benefits for your brain by visiting www.cognition-kitchen.com.
Get the Dish on Brain Healthy Fish
Fish and shellfish are among the only foods naturally rich in a healthy type of omega-3 fat called DHA, which literally builds the brain and helps support brain health throughout the entire lifespan. DHA makes up 97% of the omega-3s in a newborn’s brain, and the DHA content of an infant’s brain triples during the first three months of life. Research shows that children of moms who eat seafood 2-3 times each week during pregnancy reach milestones–like climbing stairs, copying sounds and drinking from a cup–more quickly. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages all children and adults, especially moms-to-be, to eat a variety of seafood—including popular options like salmon, canned tuna, shrimp, tilapia and crab—at least 2-3 times each week.
Why We’re Nuts about Brainy Tree Nuts
Tree nuts, such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts, have been shown to help reduce the risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and may play a positive role in satiety and maintaining a healthy body weight. Emerging research is suggesting that long-term nut consumption may also improve cognitive function and help reduce cognitive dysfunction, such as dementia. Oxidative stress is believed to play a major role in brain health. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods, such as nuts, may help protect the brain against the effects of oxidative stress, and ultimately help decrease cognitive decline.
The Eggcellent Benefits of Eggs for Brain Health at All Ages
Eggs are a naturally nutrient-rich choice providing a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients, including choline — a nutrient that helps reduce the risk of birth defects and supports brain health throughout the lifespan; however, more than 90% of Americans (including approximately 90% of pregnant women) don’t get enough of this essential nutrient and it’s not found in high quantities in many foods. Fortunately, eggs are one of the most concentrated sources of choline in the American diet. In fact, two large eggs supply more than half the recommended intake for pregnant women and can help them meet their needs.
The new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans specifically recommend nutrient-dense eggs as an important first food for infants and toddlers, as well as for pregnant women and lactating moms. The new Guidelines affirm that eggs — long known to be a vital source of nutrients for people of all ages — provide several key nutrients important for babies during a time in which their brains are most rapidly developing and can contribute to health and well-being during every life stage. For more information on the latest research and delicious recipes, please visit www.EggNutritionCenter.org.
Start Eating for Brain Health Today with Cognition Kitchen
Not sure how to start a brain health eating regimen? Download the free guide today to learn more about easy steps you can take to start eating for brain health at any age. If you make any of the recipes, please share on social media and tag us using #CognitionKitchen.