Feed Your Mind: 5 Affordable Healthy Eating Tips Can Keep Your Brain Sharp

person making diet plan while eating healthy foods at table
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We know we should load up on lots of fruits and vegetables each day, but let’s face it: Cheese and chocolate pudding are just so much more enticing (not at the same time, though!).

Study after study confirms the benefits of good nutrition for adults and growing children.

Now AARP is chiming in with new evidence of good nutrition’s positive impact on the brains of people over 40 years old.

If that’s you (it’s also me), take a look at how you match up with results from the organization’s recent online interviews with over 2,000 adults 40 and older.

  • Four in 10 adults ate the USDA target amount of 1.5-2 cups per day of fruit and 2-3 cups per day of vegetables, but “very few” met the recommended amount of dairy, grain or protein servings.
  • Nine in 10 adults say they would eat better if they knew it would reduce the chance of cognitive decline, heart disease, or diabetes.
  • More than 60% said they would eat better if they knew it was good for their brain health.

More than half of respondents say they’d up their nutrition game if their doctor told them to, but only about 10% said their doctor recommended a special eating plan.

According to AARP’s findings, adults who eat the USDA-recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day report “better brain health and have higher average mental well-being scores.”

Even better, the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the more your brain health increases.

If you want to do more to protect your body and brain health, here are a few affordable healthy eating tips  — no matter what your age.

  1. Learn how to pick the best fresh fruits and vegetables at the supermarket.
  1. Be sure to check out your local farmers market for affordable food that’s in season right now.
  1. Download a free PDF copy of “Good and Cheap: Eating on $4/Day” (available in English and Spanish).
  1. Neighborhood gardens and community-supported agriculture cooperatives (CSAs) are a great way to stretch your food budget.  
  1. Participate in “Meatless Mondays” to improve the health of your body and wallet.

Hungry yet? Check out these tasty fruit and vegetable recipes for cooking inspiration.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She believes cheese should be designated as its own food group.