The 5 Best Foods for Brain Health as You Age

eating a meal
Photo by RossHelen / Shutterstock.com

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.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Common and Costly Homebuying Myths
8 Common and Costly Homebuying Myths

Think you’re ready to buy a house? Don’t fall victim to these rookie mistakes.

12 Expenses You May Be Tempted to Claim as Tax Deductions — but Shouldn’t
12 Expenses You May Be Tempted to Claim as Tax Deductions — but Shouldn’t

Thinking of trying to deduct a few of these things on your federal tax return? That could be a costly mistake.

5 Ways Anyone Can Save on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs
5 Ways Anyone Can Save on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs

Here’s how to lower your health care costs without skimping on care.

10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself
10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself

Making any of these key foods yourself will improve meals — and your budget.

How to Save Up to 70% on 7 Everyday Purchases
How to Save Up to 70% on 7 Everyday Purchases

Stop getting sucked into paying a premium when good alternatives are available at huge savings.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk
Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

A new study finds that wearing a cloth mask can backfire if you don’t clean it properly.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.