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Study Suggests Eating Salad May Improve Brain Health

Study Suggests Eating Salad May Improve Brain Health

Pass the lettuce, please.

We’ve all heard the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," but if that doctor is a neurologist, you might want to start with a salad. A new study published in the journal Neurology investigated the link between the nutrients found in leafy greens and cognitive functioning in older adults.

The study followed 960 participants between 58 and 99 years old. Subjects filled out food frequency questionnaires and took several cognitive tests over the course of five years to determine how the foods they ate affected their mental functioning. Tests included memory, spatial ability, and perceptual speed, reported the New York Times.

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Researchers adjusted for age, sex, education, cognitive activities, physical activities, smoking, and consumption of seafood and alcohol. They found that participants who consumed the most servings of leafy greens—about one to two per day—had slower cognitive decline when compared to those who ate little or none. They also tested the veggie lovers and found their mental ability, in general, compared with people nearly 11 years younger.

Researchers found that lettuce, spinach, kale, and collard greens do the most to slow cognitive decline, according to the New York Times. The study attributes the brain-boosting benefits to nutrients in leafy greens such as vitamin K, lutein, beta-carotene, nitrate, folate, and more.

But if it’s just the nutrients in leafy greens that boost our brain health, could popping a supplement with these vitamins and minerals have the same effect? Experts say ‘not so much’.

Martha Clare Morris, lead author and a professor of epidemiology at Rush University in Chicago, told the New York Times, “The nutrients in food have many different forms and interactions. A specific formulation put in a pill with the same effect? That’s wishful thinking.”


Foods That Boost Brain Health

Your eating habits don’t just influence your weight and your heart health, they also impact your brain. If you’re eager to keep your mind healthy for the long term, consuming foods linked to better memory, cognition, and overall brain health may help.

“Certain foods, and especially certain dietary patterns, have been linked with fewer memory problems and cognitive impairment as you age,” says Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, a registered dietitian based in New York City. “While you may not notice the benefit right away, it’s a good idea to eat as if your memory depends on it because it really does.”

In honor of Brain Awareness Week (March 16-22), add these foods to your menu:

Oily fish. Salmon and other types of oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for brain health. “Studies repeatedly link this type of fat to lower levels of inflammation in the body,” Cassetty says. “You can’t see this type of inflammation, but chronic, body-wide inflammation may promote diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Our modern, Western diet that’s full of convenience items provides way fewer of these anti-inflammatory fats, compared to other types of fats, but it’s better for your brain health to reverse this ratio and eat more anti-inflammatory fats.”

Experts recommend eating fish twice a week. Bake or broil salmon or trout with lemon or olive oil, or eat canned salmon or sardines over a salad.

Nuts and seeds. Fish is rich in the omega-3 fat known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Nuts and seeds are also rich in omega-3s—a type known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). “Research suggests consuming ALA improves memory, retention, and learning,” says Kim Rose, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Sebring, Florida.

Reach for walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, or pumpkin seeds, which are rich in ALA, as well as magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper.

Berries. The antioxidants called flavonoids, which give berries their deep red, blue, and purple hues, make these tiny fruits excellent for your brain. Some research has shown that older women who eat flavonoid-rich blueberries and strawberries have slower rates of cognitive decline.

“Blueberries and other berries [also] contain anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and help reduce brain aging,” says Amy Archer, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Saratoga, California. “Try a little with your morning meal or a handful as a sweet snack.”

Leafy greens. A salad a day may protect your memory, according to a recent study which looked at the eating habits of adults aged 58 to 99. “About a serving of leafy green veggies—think kale and spinach—per day was associated with the memory of people 11 years younger, which is an incredibly dramatic benefit,” Cassetty says.

If you’re not the biggest fan of salads, add greens to a smoothie, or mix them into eggs, pasta dishes, or soup. “I love stirring a big fistful of baby spinach into a can of lower sodium lentil soup,” Cassetty says. “It brightens an otherwise brown bowl of food and adds some freshness to a convenience item.”

Turmeric. Turmeric is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory associated with better brain health, although more research is needed. The active ingredient in this colorful spice is curcumin.

“While there is research regarding the use of curcumin related to brain health in disease states like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, there is no conclusive evidence to indicate specific prophylactic use and dosage,” says Martha Lawder, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Roseville, California. “The turmeric spice can definitely be used in your culinary adventures as part of a well-balanced and healthy diet.”

Eggs. Whether scrambled, hard-boiled, or sunny side up, eggs are brain-friendly. “Eggs are an affordable protein food whose yolk provides choline and lutein, two phytonutrients that are pivotal for early brain development in the first 1,000 days after conceiving,” says Maggie Moon, MS, RD, a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian and author of The MIND Diet: A Scientific Approach to Enhancing Brain Function and Helping Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia. “Emerging research suggests lutein is just as important in slowing down age-related cognitive decline.”

Although they contain cholesterol, adults may eat an egg a day as part of a healthy diet, according to the American Heart Association.

Dark chocolate. Milk chocolate doesn’t have brain-health benefits, but dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, so enjoying a square daily may be good for you.

“The special class of flavonoids in dark chocolate may be especially beneficial to your brain,” Cassetty says. “They’ve recently been shown to improve brain neuroplasticity, which essentially means that they may improve your ability to continue to learn as you age. Cocoa flavonols also increase blood flow to your brain, and they may reduce neuron loss and keep neuron connections healthy. This all translates to memory improvements and a lower risk of memory impairments.”

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

Lisa Fields

Lisa Fields is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition, fitness, sleep and psychology. Her work has been published in Reader’s Digest, WebMD, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Women’s Health, Shape, Self and other publications. She lives in South Jersey, outside of Philadelphia. Learn more about Lisa at writtenbylisafields.com.

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14 Brain-Healthy Foods That Will Help Protect Your Memory and Cognition

What you choose to fuel your body with affects more than the number on the scale and how your jeans fit. Everything from your bone density to your memory can be supported by what you put on your plate. Specifically when it comes to brain health, the foods you eat have a major impact, says Dale E. Bredesen, M.D., a neurologist and author of The End of Alzheimer&rsquos Program.

Two diets in particular are backed by science for boosting brain health and reducing your risk of dementia: the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH diet. The Mediterranean Diet focuses on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, seafood, olive oil, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and whole grains, while limiting red meats, processed foods, refined grains and oils, and high-sugar foods. Poultry, eggs, dairy, and red wine can be enjoyed in moderation. Research has found the diet has a slew of health benefits, like improving heart health, aiding in weight management, and supporting brain function.

In comparison, the DASH diet (which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is similar to the Mediterranean diet, but includes slightly different serving suggestions, like capping sodium intake at 1,500 milligrams and allowing for more lean meats. The DASH diet boasts the same benefits as the Mediterranean diet, and was specifically developed to help lower blood pressure without medication.

But one diet has combined the best parts of each, particularly when it comes brain health: the MIND Diet, which is short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. One 2015 study published in the journal Alzheimer&rsquos & Dementia found that the MIND diet can turn back the time on your cognitive age by seven and a half years. The study followed 900 men and women ages 58 to 98 for an average of four and a half years, assessing their diets with detailed food questionnaires and testing their cognitive function annually. Researchers found when participants followed the MIND diet very closely, while limiting less-nutritious foods like red meat, processed sweets, and fried foods, they reduced Alzheimer&rsquos and dementia risk by 53%, and by 35% in those who followed the diet reasonably well.

To keep your brain in tip-top shape, Dr. Bredesen recommends limiting your intake of processed foods, red meat, and added sugar while loading up on the nutrient-rich, MIND diet-approved foods below.


2. Blueberries

Blueberries are rich in a number of brain-boosting antioxidants such as gallic acid and polyphenols. Gallic acid protects our brains from degeneration and stress. Polyphenols, which you may have heard of, help to combat cognitive decline in the form of an antioxidant known as flavonoids. 10

Flavonoids can cross the blood-brain barrier into areas of learning and memory. Additionally, flavonoids have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help combat oxidative stress and inflammation. Both are thought to be important contributors to cognitive impairment.

Blueberries, or the flavonoids in blueberries, are associated with slower rates of cognitive decline in older adults, as well as improved neurocognitive function, lower symptoms of depression, and better glucose control. 11 , 12 Another study suggests that school-aged children&rsquos memory skills can also get better when they are given flavonoid-rich drinks with concentrations of blueberry powder. 13

Berries are one of my favorite foods not only because of their inflammation-fighting powers but also because they are low in sugar, making them a great option for diabetics and those dealing with Candida or SIBO. I keep a bag of organic berries in my freezer at all times for my smoothies. Fresh berries are also a great snack all on their own!


The Best Foods for Brain Health

1. Fatty fish

Fatty fish, such as wild salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, anchovies, and rainbow trout, are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to better overall health, including brain health. The three main types of omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your body doesn’t produce DHA and EPA on its own and your body is able to convert only some of ALA into DHA and EPA, so you need to get these fats primarily through food. DHA and EPA are predominantly found in fish and seafood, while ALA can be found in plant oils. According to a February 2012 study of more than 1,000 people in Neurology, diets low in DHA and EPA are associated with smaller volumes of brain tissue and cognitive impairment, so aim to have fatty fish in heavy rotation in your diet.

2. Berries

If there’s one thing you want to make sure you have with your breakfast every morning, Lester says it’s berries. “I like snacking on blueberries versus grabbing something unhealthy. Plus, they are easy to add to anything,” she says. These tiny jewel-toned fruits are one of the best foods for your brain, packing a mighty punch of age-defying antioxidants and flavonoids. Flavonoids are compounds naturally found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and tea that work to fight inflammation in the body. Their powerful antioxidant properties have long-been associated with creating a strong defense against a variety of cancers, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. From blueberries to strawberries, berries are particularly high in vitamin C, which has been linked to preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a May 2012 study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Another study in the journal Annals of Neurology observed that women who had higher berry intake delayed cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.

3. Walnuts

Rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts add a nutritious crunch to your breakfast oats and make a sensible snack when hunger strikes, Lester says. Keep a bag of walnuts at your desk so it’s easy to grab if you’re running to a meeting. In fact, walnuts have the highest ALA fat content compared to other nuts, and they also contain vitamin E and polyphenols, which help protect against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, according to a funded review in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. The ALA fat in walnuts has also been shown to help boost mood, reduce depression, and improve cognitive function and sleep.

4. Avocado

It’s not surprising that everyone’s favorite toast topper makes this list. Lester says she carries an avocado with her basically everywhere she goes. “I like adding them to my salads. They make them more filling,” Lester says. That’s because avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fat that has been linked to lowering the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Avocados are also a staple in the MIND diet and Mediterranean diet, which have been associated with better brain health

5. Eggs

“I make a bunch of hard-boiled eggs every week because they’re easy to grab and they’re rich in protein, which helps keep you full,” Lester says. She also notes that eggs are rich in choline, a nutrient that has been associated with a lower risk of dementia. A September 2019 study done on mice in Aging Cell suggests that dietary choline supplementation can help prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

6. Extra-virgin olive oil

Lester says it’s important to add variety to the healthy fats you have in your diet, and extra-virgin olive oil is one of the best brain foods that adds flavor and satiating nutrients to your meals. “I keep a bottle of olive oil in my cabinet at work. I use it versus any other salad dressing,” Lester says. Like avocados, olive oil is one of the key foods in the Mediterranean diet and MIND diets because it’s mainly made up of monounsaturated fats. These fats are essential for reducing heart disease, stabilizing insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes, and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. A July 2015 study in JAMA suggests that supplementing the Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil and nuts can help combat age-related cognitive decline.

Tiffany Ayuda is a New York City-based editor and writer passionate about fitness, nutrition, health, and wellness. She has held previous editorial roles at Prevention, Eat This, Not That, Daily Burn, and Everyday Health. Tiffany is also a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise. When she's not writing or breaking up a sweat, Tiffany enjoys cooking up healthy meals in her Brooklyn kitchen.

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Vegetables and Fruits

A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check. Eating non-starchy vegetables and fruits like apples, pears, and green leafy vegetables may even promote weight loss. [1] Their low glycemic loads prevent blood sugar spikes that can increase hunger.

At least nine different families of fruits and vegetables exist, each with potentially hundreds of different plant compounds that are beneficial to health. Eat a variety of types and colors of produce in order to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. This not only ensures a greater diversity of beneficial plant chemicals but also creates eye-appealing meals.

Tips to eat more vegetables and fruits each day

  1. Keep fruit where you can see it. Place several ready-to-eat washed whole fruits in a bowl or store chopped colorful fruits in a glass bowl in the refrigerator to tempt a sweet tooth.
  2. Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety and color are key to a healthy diet. On most days, try to get at least one serving from each of the following categories: dark green leafy vegetables yellow or orange fruits and vegetables red fruits and vegetables legumes (beans) and peas and citrus fruits.
  3. Skip the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with different nutrients and more slowly digested carbohydrates.
  4. Make it a meal. Try cooking new recipes that include more vegetables. Salads, soups, and stir-fries are just a few ideas for increasing the number of tasty vegetables in your meals.

5 common questions about fruits and vegetables.

Vegetables, fruits, and disease

Cardiovascular disease

There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

  • A meta-analysis of cohort studies following 469,551 participants found that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, with an average reduction in risk of 4% for each additional serving per day of fruit and vegetables. [2]
  • The largest and longest study to date, done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, included almost 110,000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years.
  • The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30% less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke. [3]
  • Although all fruits and vegetables likely contributed to this benefit, green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens, were most strongly associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit (and their juices) also made important contributions. [3]
  • When researchers combined findings from the Harvard studies with several other long-term studies in the U.S. and Europe, and looked at coronary heart disease and stroke separately, they found a similar protective effect: Individuals who ate more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day had roughly a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease [4] and stroke, [5] compared with individuals who ate less than 3 servings per day.

Blood pressure

  • The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study[6] examined the effect on blood pressure of a diet that was rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and that restricted the amount of saturated and total fat. The researchers found that people with high blood pressure who followed this diet reduced their systolic blood pressure (the upper number of a blood pressure reading) by about 11 mm Hg and their diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by almost 6 mm Hg—as much as medications can achieve.
  • A randomized trial known as the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health (OmniHeart) showed that this fruit and vegetable-rich diet lowered blood pressure even more when some of the carbohydrate was replaced with healthy unsaturated fat or protein. [7]
  • In 2014 a meta-analysis of clinical trials and observational studies found that consumption of a vegetarian diet was associated with lower blood pressure. [8]

Cancer

Numerous early studies revealed what appeared to be a strong link between eating fruits and vegetables and protection against cancer. Unlike case-control studies, cohort studies, which follow large groups of initially healthy individuals for years, generally provide more reliable information than case-control studies because they don’t rely on information from the past. And, in general, data from cohort studies have not consistently shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevents cancer.

  • For example, over a 14-year period in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, men and women with the highest intake of fruits and vegetables (8+ servings a day) were just as likely to have developed cancer as those who ate the fewest daily servings (under 1.5). [3]
  • A meta-analysis of cohort studies found that a higher fruit and vegetable intake did not decrease the risk of deaths from cancer. [2]

A more likely possibility is that some types of fruits and vegetables may protect against certain cancers.

  • A study by Farvid and colleagues followed a Nurses’ Health Study II cohort of 90,476 premenopausal women for 22 years and found that those who ate the most fruit during adolescence (about 3 servings a day) compared with those who ate the lowest intakes (0.5 servings a day) had a 25% lower risk of developing breast cancer. There was a significant reduction in breast cancer in women who had eaten higher intakes of apples, bananas, grapes, and corn during adolescence, and oranges and kale during early adulthood. No protection was found from drinking fruit juices at younger ages. [9]
  • Farvid and colleagues followed 90, 534 premenopausal women from the Nurses’ Health Study II over 20 years and found that higher fiber intakes during adolescence and early adulthood were associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer later in life. When comparing the highest and lowest fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables, women with the highest fruit fiber intake had a 12% reduced risk of breast cancer those with the highest vegetable fiber intake had an 11% reduced risk. [10]
  • After following 182,145 women in the Nurses’ Health Study I and II for 30 years, Farvid’s team also found that women who ate more than 5.5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day (especially cruciferous and yellow/orange vegetables) had an 11% lower risk of breast cancer than those who ate 2.5 or fewer servings. Vegetable intake was strongly associated with a 15% lower risk of estrogen-receptor-negative tumors for every two additional servings of vegetables eaten daily. A higher intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with a lower risk of other aggressive tumors including HER2-enriched and basal-like tumors. [11]
  • A report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that non-starchy vegetables—such as lettuce and other leafy greens, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, as well as garlic, onions, and the like—and fruits “probably” protect against several types of cancers, including those of the mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, and stomach. Fruit probably also protects against lung cancer. [12]

Specific components of fruits and vegetables may also be protective against cancer. For example:

  • A line of research stemming from a finding from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study suggests that tomatoes may help protect men against prostate cancer, especially aggressive forms of it. [12] One of the pigments that give tomatoes their red hue—lycopene—could be involved in this protective effect. Although several studies other than the Health Professionals Study have also demonstrated a link between tomatoes or lycopene and prostate cancer, others have not or have found only a weak connection. [14]
  • Taken as a whole, however, these studies suggest that increased consumption of tomato-based products (especially cooked tomato products) and other lycopene-containing foods may reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer. [12] Lycopene is one of several carotenoids (compounds that the body can turn into vitamin A) found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and research suggests that foods containing carotenoids may protect against lung, mouth, and throat cancer. [12] But more research is needed to understand the exact relationship between fruits and vegetables, carotenoids, and cancer.

Diabetes

Some research looks specifically at whether individual fruits are associated with risk of type 2 diabetes. While there isn’t an abundance of research into this area yet, preliminary results are compelling.

  • A study of over 66,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, 85,104 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II, and 36,173 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study—who were free of major chronic diseases—found that greater consumption of whole fruits—especially blueberries, grapes, and apples—was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Another important finding was that greater consumption of fruit juice was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. [15]
  • Additionally a study of over 70,000 female nurses aged 38-63 years, who were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, showed that consumption of green leafy vegetables and fruit was associated with a lower risk of diabetes. While not conclusive, research also indicated that consumption of fruit juices may be associated with an increased risk among women. (16)
  • A study of over 2,300 Finnish men showed that vegetables and fruits, especially berries, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. [17]

Weight

Data from the Nurses’ Health Studies and the Health Professional’s Follow-up Study show that women and men who increased their intakes of fruits and vegetables over a 24-year period were more likely to have lost weight than those who ate the same amount or those who decreased their intake. Berries, apples, pears, soy, and cauliflower were associated with weight loss while starchier vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas were linked with weight gain. [1] However, keep in mind that adding more produce into the diet won’t necessarily help with weight loss unless it replaces another food, such as refined carbohydrates of white bread and crackers.

Gastrointestinal health

Fruits and vegetables contain indigestible fiber, which absorbs water and expands as it passes through the digestive system. This can calm symptoms of an irritable bowel and, by triggering regular bowel movements, can relieve or prevent constipation. [18] The bulking and softening action of insoluble fiber also decreases pressure inside the intestinal tract and may help prevent diverticulosis. [19]

Vision

Eating fruits and vegetables can also keep your eyes healthy, and may help prevent two common aging-related eye diseases—cataracts and macular degeneration—which afflict millions of Americans over age 65. [20-23] Lutein and zeaxanthin, in particular, seem to reduce risk of cataracts. [24]

References

  1. Bertoia ML, Mukamal KJ, Cahill LE, Hou T, Ludwig DS, Mozaffarian D, Willett WC, Hu FB, Rimm EB. Changes in intake of fruits and vegetables and weight change in United States men and women followed for up to 24 years: analysis from three prospective cohort studies. PLoS medicine. 2015 Sep 2212(9):e1001878.
  2. Wang X, Ouyang Y, Liu J, Zhu M, Zhao G, Bao W, Hu FB. Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ. 2014 Jul 29349:g4490.
  3. Hung HC, Joshipura KJ, Jiang R, Hu FB, Hunter D, Smith-Warner SA, Colditz GA, Rosner B, Spiegelman D, Willett WC. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of major chronic disease. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2004 Nov 396(21):1577-84.
  4. He FJ, Nowson CA, Lucas M, MacGregor GA. Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables is related to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of cohort studies. Journal of human hypertension. 2007 Sep21(9):717.
  5. He FJ, Nowson CA, MacGregor GA. Fruit and vegetable consumption and stroke: meta-analysis of cohort studies. The Lancet. 2006 Jan 28367(9507):320-6.
  6. Appel LJ, Moore TJ, Obarzanek E, Vollmer WM, Svetkey LP, Sacks FM, Bray GA, Vogt TM, Cutler JA, Windhauser MM, Lin PH. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. New England Journal of Medicine. 1997 Apr 17336(16):1117-24.
  7. Appel LJ, Sacks FM, Carey VJ, Obarzanek E, Swain JF, Miller ER, Conlin PR, Erlinger TP, Rosner BA, Laranjo NM, Charleston J. Effects of protein, monounsaturated fat, and carbohydrate intake on blood pressure and serum lipids: results of the OmniHeart randomized trial. JAMA. 2005 Nov 16294(19):2455-64.
  8. Yokoyama Y, Nishimura K, Barnard ND, Takegami M, Watanabe M, Sekikawa A, Okamura T, Miyamoto Y. Vegetarian diets and blood pressure: a meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine. 2014 Apr 1174(4):577-87.
  9. Farvid MS, Chen WY, Michels KB, Cho E, Willett WC, Eliassen AH. Fruit and vegetable consumption in adolescence and early adulthood and risk of breast cancer: population based cohort study. BMJ. 2016 May 11353:i2343.
  10. Farvid MS, Eliassen AH, Cho E, Liao X, Chen WY, Willett WC. Dietary fiber intake in young adults and breast cancer risk. Pediatrics. 2016 Mar 1137(3):e20151226.
  11. Farvid MS, Chen WY, Rosner BA, Tamimi RM, Willett WC, Eliassen AH. Fruit and vegetable consumption and breast cancer incidence: Repeated measures over 30 years of follow‐up. International journal of cancer. 2018 Jul 6.
  12. Wiseman M. The Second World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research Expert Report. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective: Nutrition Society and BAPEN Medical Symposium on ‘Nutrition support in cancer therapy’. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2008 Aug67(3):253-6.
  13. Giovannucci E, Liu Y, Platz EA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. Risk factors for prostate cancer incidence and progression in the health professionals follow‐up study. International journal of cancer. 2007 Oct 1121(7):1571-8.
  14. Kavanaugh CJ, Trumbo PR, Ellwood KC. The US Food and Drug Administration’s evidence-based review for qualified health claims: tomatoes, lycopene, and cancer.Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2007 Jul 1899(14):1074-85.
  15. Muraki I, Imamura F, Manson JE, Hu FB, Willett WC, van Dam RM, Sun Q. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ. 2013 Aug 29347:f5001.
  16. Bazzano LA, Li TY, Joshipura KJ, Hu FB. Intake of fruit, vegetables, and fruit juices and risk of diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. 2008 Apr 3.

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The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.


Eating salad helps with blood sugar control

Eating only salad every day could help improve your blood sugar control. Good blood sugar control can lower your risk of developing the disease. In fact, according to the American College of Cardiology, evidence shows that people who eat the most fiber have an 18 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who eat the least fiber. If you do have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends getting at least 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories to help with blood sugar control and digestion as well as reduce the risk of other chronic diseases.

That said, the best way to ensure good blood sugar control is to eat salads that have more vegetables than fruits. Diabetes UK explained that while fruit can and should absolutely be part of your healthy diet, it's important for those with diabetes, or are at high risk for diabetes, to pay attention to portion sizes, as eating several servings of fruit (which has lots of natural sugar) at once might cause a sharp rise in blood sugar.


12 Superfoods To Boost Your Brainpower

We've all had those days when we just can't seem to concentrate. And while there's no magic pill to bring us back to the height of our cognitive powers, there are some foods that have been shown to improve brain function, protect against age-associated cognitive decline and encourage focus and clarity.

But before you dismiss the diet-brain connection as mere conjecture, keep in mind that study after study has found a relationship between what we put in our mouths and how well we can perform important thinking and memory tasks. While certain nutrients may specifically assist brain function, there is also the totality of our diets to consider. One recent U.K. study found that a diet high in saturated fat actually caused damage to neurons that control energy and appetite in mice. And several well-regarded studies have shown that meal timing is an important predictor of performance. For example, research shows that eating breakfast can improve the memory and acquisition skills of schoolchildren.

We put together the top brain foods -- tell us in the comments if any have made a difference for you. After all, who couldn't use a little extra oomph up there?


7 of 11

Red wine

Studies have shown that people who consume moderate amounts of red wine and other types of alcohol may be at reduced risk for Alzheimer&rsquos disease, but it may be that there is something else that tipplers do or don&rsquot do that affects their risk of developing Alzheimer&rsquos, Carrillo says.

&ldquoPeople who drink alcohol or eat healthy may be healthier in other aspects of their life, so it is difficult to disentangle whether it&rsquos the healthy diet that protects them versus other healthy behaviors.&rdquo


“Schisandra is an ancient herb that’s known for its ability to improve focus and concentration, while boosting mental energy,” Axe says. “The berries exhibit strong antioxidant activities, allowing them to support mental performance while raising the body’s resistance to mental fatigue, environmental stress and even emotional trauma.” Several companies sell schisandra berry tea as a good pick-me-up for after lunch or to stave off the afternoon slump.

Use It: Make tea from whole dried berries, blend powder into smoothies or take as a supplement (in capsules or liquid form).