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Because a proper diet is a huge part of maintaining cognitive health, these are five foods that are best for your brain.

Because a proper diet is a huge part of maintaining cognitive health, these are five foods that are best for your brain.

As adults age, their cognition becomes more of a concern and many wonder how certain lifestyles can impact how they maintain brain health. According to Dianna Purvis Jaffin, director of strategy and programs for the Center for BrainHealth's Brain Performance Institute at the University of Texas-Dallas, it's best to take a "holistic approach" to brain health. As she told US News & World Report, that approach includes sufficient amounts of exercise, sleep, stress management and a good diet.

According to a study published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, the MIND diet, a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's by 53 percent. The study found that the diet was so effective that even participants who only loosely followed the diet lowered their risk by 35 percent. Other experts have more basic rules for brain food.

Jennifer McDaniel, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a registered dietitian nutritionist, told US News & World Report that many of the same foods that protect against cardiovascular diseases also help improve brain health, like vegetables and nuts. Here are five foods that can help boost your brain health:

1. Fish

As a cornerstone of the MIND diet, fish is one of the most highly recommended foods for brain health. In fact, research by Tufts University found that people who ate fish like salmon, tuna or halibut three times a week were 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish contain DHA and EPA, which are essential for brain function.

"Omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in particular, may help improve memory in healthy young adults," McDaniel said. "Our brains are largely made up of this fatty acid, so it makes sense to fuel with this fat."

2. Salads

Green, leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamin K and do wonders for the brain. According to study by Rush University Medical Center, people who consumed one to two daily servings of leafy greens had the cognitive function of someone 11 years younger compared to people who had no servings. Salads with mixed leaves and vegetables are a great way to get this brain fuel in your diet.

3. Wine

The MIND diet says you should drink one glass of red wine a day (though white can work too). According to McDaniel, that glass of wine can increase blood flow to your brain as well as improve neural communication and insulin sensitivity, which is important for preventing dementia.

4. Blueberries

Blueberries contain a certain antioxidant called anthocyanin that researchers believe can protect brain cells from oxidation and promote communication between neurons. A study by Harvard Nurses' Health found that women over 70 who had two or more weekly half-cup servings of blueberries or strawberries had better cognitive fitness than those who did not. Other studies have found that blueberries can sharpen short-term memory, navigation, coordination and balance.

5. Olive Oil

Because olive oil is a great source of powerful antioxidants, using it in your cooking can fight against oxidative damage in the brain. According to some research published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, extra virgin olive oil can also help with memory and learning.

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