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I figured that if there’s anyone who knows the best foods for brain health, it would be a neurologist. So, I asked Kiran Rajneesh, MBBS, a neurologist at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, what foods he eats every single day to support his own brain.
Besides water, Dr. Rajneesh says there are several foods on his brain health list that he eats every day. He says he always snacks on fruits and nuts at some point since they’re both high in antioxidants. “Antioxidants are an important dietary need to repair neurons and keep them in prime function,” he says. Fruit is typically high in antioxidants, and nuts themselves come with their own unique brain-boosting perks. “Nuts also have antioxidants and essential fatty acids which play an important part in the repair of nerve cells,” he says. “I try to incorporate nuts into my breakfast or just have as a snack during my morning drive in the car.”
When he’s preparing his foods, Dr. Rajneesh says he likes to use a lot of spices linked to benefitting brain health, too. His favorites: turmeric, garlic, and cinnamon. “I try to incorporate these into my meats and beans as I prepare them for dinner or lunch,” he says. Research shows that curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) may have a significant effect on memory and attention in adults aged 50 to 90 who had mild memory complaints. Garlic is not only linked to lowering inflammation but also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6 and magnesium—both linked to boosting mood and improving brain health. And cinnamon has shown to potentially have neuroprotective benefits in Parkinson’s patients.