These high-protein snacks are also potential brain boosters

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A proper diet doesn’t have to be all about building brawn. A good meal plan can help promote better brain health and build muscle to boot.

Luckily, it’s not a practice that requires a complete cleanout of your kitchen cupboards. If you are looking to start small with a new diet for promoting good brain health, there are myriad snacks you can try.

From omega-3 fatty acids to B vitamins, there are numerous nutrients associated with improved brain health. According to a 2021 study published in Nutrition Reviews, iron, zinc, iodine, vitamin D, polyphenols and fiber are other important mind sharpening nutrients.

The most important nutrient to brain health, however, remains protein. A powerful tool, protein plays a crucial role in the production of neurotransmitters — the nervous system’s highly important chemical messengers.

Beans and legumes

A Harvard study published in the January 2022 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that a high-protein diet may be important to protecting cognition. After evaluating 77,000 people for more than 20 years, the researchers concluded that eating protein was associated with lower odds of developing cognitive decline later in life.

“Beans and legumes had the strongest protective association,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Tian-Shin Yeh, lead author of the study, told Harvard Health Publishing. “Peas and lima beans in particular were associated with a 28% lower risk of cognitive decline for every additional three servings per week.”

Nuts and seeds

While protein-rich foods are a great starting point for forming a potentially brain boosting diet, it is also important to consider the other nutrients important to brain health. Nuts and seeds have many of the fatty acids that can promote better brain health.

“Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and peanuts, as well as sunflower and pumpkin seeds, are brain foods high in protein and omega fatty acids,” UnityPoint Health reported. “Protein is the second largest matter in the brain, second only to water, so it is important to nourish your brain with protein rich foods. Proteins help neurons within the brain communicate with each other through neurotransmitters that are made from amino acids.”

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