Curious about brain health? Eat smart.

To maintain a sharp mind and a healthy brain, try leaning more toward Brussels sprouts than brownies. So advises Michael Mega, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of Providence Cognitive Assessment Clinic.

“A diet low in saturated fats, high in vegetables and high in more complex carbohydrates clearly is one of the best things you can do to maintain not only general physical health but also mental health,” Dr. Mega said in a recent interview with KGW. Good examples of complex carbohydrates are whole grains, fruits and starchy vegetables.

Meanwhile, he recommended, go easy on simple carbohydrates, such as those found in processed and refined sugars in candies, cakes and cookies. The storage of such “empty” calories in fat reserves leads to the production of free radicals, which can damage brain cells.

Flax seed, grape skins, and many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants, which may protect cells against the effects of free radicals, Dr. Mega said.

“Micronutrients that are found in the more complex carbohydrates help with maintaining cell vigor, as well as provide us with vitamins and minerals,” he noted.

Eat more fish, Dr. Mega added, for another fine “brain food.”

Learn more: Memory and Alzheimer’s disease