The 5 Best Foods for Brain Health as You Age

The 5 Best Foods for Brain Health as You Age Photo by RossHelen /

It’s official: Today’s typical Western diet — laden with salt, sugar, calories and saturated fats — is as bad for our brains as it is for our bodies.

That’s part of the consensus reached by the Global Council on Brain Health, as reported in a paper released earlier this year titled “Brain Food: GCBH Recommendations on Nourishing Your Brain Health.”

Members examined data about how diet impacts brain health in folks age 50 and older. The council concluded that the best diet for brain health is the same diet prescribed for heart health. The report explains:

“Common conditions influenced by diet — such as elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes — harm both cardiovascular and cognitive health. Therefore, a heart-healthy diet is a brain-healthy diet.”

Members of the council divided their recommendations on specific foods into three groups.

The food group labeled “Encourage” comprises the foods that the experts recommend eating regularly. The report also describes them as “the ‘A-list’ healthy foods.” They are:

  1. Berries (juice does not count)
  2. Fresh vegetables (especially leafy greens)
  3. Healthy fats (such as those found in oils like extra virgin olive oil)
  4. Nuts (though you should eat them in moderation, as they are high in calories)
  5. Fish and seafood

The food group labeled “Include” comprises the “B-list” foods, which the council recommends including in your diet. They are:

  1. Beans and other legumes
  2. Fruits (in addition to berries)
  3. Low-fat dairy (such as yogurt)
  4. Poultry
  5. Grains

The foods in the “Limit” group are those that you should, yes, limit. They are:

  1. Fried food
  2. Pastries
  3. Processed foods
  4. Red meat
  5. Red meat products
  6. Whole-fat dairy (such as cheese and butter)
  7. Salt

The council does not specify exactly how much of these foods should be eaten or how often.

How to cut food costs

People who decide to eat more healthfully often grouse about the high cost of foods that are good for you. But there are ways to trim that bill.

As we point out in “25 Ways to Spend Less on Food,” buying produce in season is a sure way to keep a lid on food costs:

Cans and boxes will last a long time on your shelf, but fresh ingredients won’t. Fruits and veggies, in particular, can eat up a big chunk of your food budget. Train your taste buds to like what’s in season.

For more tips, read the story. Then, check out:

Do you have more tips for cutting food costs? Share them in comments below or on Facebook.

Popular Articles

6 Tips to Age-Proof Your Resume
6 Tips to Age-Proof Your Resume

Finding a job isn’t easy — and it sometimes feels like too much experience actually counts against you. These tips will help.

How All 50 States Tax Your Retirement Income
How All 50 States Tax Your Retirement Income

Find out which states are friendly, and not-so friendly, with the money you’ll need in your later years.

7 Reasons You Should Rent a Home in Retirement
7 Reasons You Should Rent a Home in Retirement

Renting is a better fit than owning for many retirees. Here’s how it can pay off during your golden years.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started


912 Active Deals

More Deals