Many of you know that diet impacts heart health, but you may not realize that the brain is also affected by what you eat. As a part of your physical body, your brain relies on the food you eat to stay healthy, just as your heart does.

Research has shown that one of the best ways to keep your brain working the way you want is to eat right. Diet has a significant impact on brain health. Even as you age chronologically, you can keep your brain healthy by adding smart foods and eliminating harmful choices from your diet.

A healthy diet and a healthy brain go hand-in-hand, and can knock years off your ‘brain age’.

What foods are important for optimizing brain health? For brain health, your food choices are the same as for reducing risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity and high blood pressure: healthy foods.

 Give Your Brain a Boost With Food

For brain health, most of us need to increase our intake of Omega-3 fats, which are found in fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna) and also in walnuts and olive oil. Other healthy food choices are fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean proteins, lower-fat dairy products and higher-fiber whole grain breads, cereals and rice.

What you don’t eat is just as important as what you do. It’s best to avoid processed food, sugar, trans fats and salt.

Changing life-long habits, especially diet, is not easy.

Focus on adding healthy foods to your diet rather than setting a bunch of restrictions about what you shouldn’t eat. By the time you’ve eaten all the healthy new foods, you may find yourself with no appetite left for the less healthy options.