These Are the Best (and Worst) Foods for a Healthy Brain

Amanda Montell

When I think about my long-term health, keeping my body and skin in good shape is certainly important, but making sure my mind stays sharp is priority number one. Sure, losing your collagen and youthful figure stinks, but as long as I can still have intelligent conversations, ageing doesn't really scare me.

That said, I know that taking measures to keep your brain healthy is just as important as with your body and skin. I do my best to read thought-provoking material each day, and I play a lot of Scrabble, which experts say is good mental exercise. But recently I got to thinking about nutrition: We've extensively covered the best foods to eat for a flat tummy and clear skin, but what about foods for cognitive function?

"We are beginning to more clearly understand the impact of nutrition on learning and memory—from infancy into adulthood," says Matt Kuchan, Ph.D., lead nutrition discovery scientist for brain health at Abbott, a global healthcare company. "That really brings to life the important role nutrition plays in helping to create strong brain connections, helping us to focus, preserving our memories, and ultimately, in preserving who we are."

I spoke with Kuchan, as well as two other brain health specialists, who shared the latest research about which foods help keep our brains sharp (and which we should avoid). Read on to learn about the best and worst foods for staying whip-smart forever!

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