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Expert-recommended healthy treats for brain

Just like the rest of our body parts, our brain, too, needs special care and nourishment in the absence of which, we put ourselves at risk of dementia, memory loss, and cognitive decline as we age. But, who said taking care of your brain has to be boring? You can consume some delicious desserts that are known to keep your brain health in check.

Recently, nutritional psychiatrist Dr Uma Naidoo took to Instagram to share a few such food items. “Fall weather got you craving a sweet treat? Here are my favourite, simple, mood-boosting treats made from whole foods,” she wrote.

The expert mentioned that her favourite brain-healthy desserts are “dark chocolate (80 per cent cacao), fresh berries, and baked peaches”.

“Fatty fish and other animal fats, organ meats, bone broth, and antioxidant-rich foods like green tea and berries” help boost brain health, added functional nutritionist Mugdha Pradhan, CEO and Founder, iThrive. “Fatty fish and animal fats, such as butter, contain high levels of omega-3 fats, essential fatty acids, and other key nutrients which are important for brain health. Organ meats, such as liver and kidney, are rich in nutrients that are essential for brain health,” she explained.

Dr Naidoo also shared six important brain foods for kids as “a nutritious diet is a major contributing factor for children’s mental health and overall well-being“.

Here are some of her suggestions:

*Leafy greens
*Sunflower seeds

If your child is a picky eater, the expert recommended blending fruits and vegetables together. “Adding chia seeds and yoghurt can make it even more of a delicious superfood smoothie! Incorporating a variety of nutrients into your children’s diet is extremely beneficial for their health,” she wrote.

Dr Suryanarayan Sharma PM, Senior Neurologist and Stroke Specialist, Apollo Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore added that the brain utilises a lot of energy in the body as it controls consciousness, memory, thought, emotions and motor control of all the limbs. “Eating healthy food in the right quantities is recommended. For the brain to work optimally, we need 10 essential nutrients in our food. They are vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acid, vitamin D, iron, zinc, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, vitamin K and selenium,” he said.

The expert suggested, “Some important food items that help in boosting brain function are nuts and seeds, whole grains like brown rice, barley, wheat, oatmeal, avocados, peanuts, eggs, broccoli and soya products. Oily fish, dark chocolates and berries also contain a good amount of nutrients for optimal brain function. Coffee also helps to improve awareness mode and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.”

“It has long been known that abundance of specific nutrients can affect cognitive process and emotions,” Doli Baliyan, Clinical Head Dietitian, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Dehradun said, adding that eating foods packed with good and healthy nutrients is a great way to guard ourselves against cognitive decline and stay fit and healthy mentally.

In addition to boosting your brain, Mohini Dongre, senior dietician at Narayana Hospital, Gurugram highlighted that some of the best brain foods also protect your heart and blood vessels.