We often think about food as a very physical component of health. And while it is, for the most part, we tend to forget that the right foods are responsible for the way that our mind works, too.
With the right diet, you’ll naturally sleep deeper, think more clearly, have better memory, and enjoy the myriad of other health benefits that come with a diverse diet. Good, nutrient-dense food is a non-negotiable element of brain health. So, without further ado, let’s tuck in.
Blueberries offer a wide variety of health benefits, many of which are specifically geared towards brain vitality. The darkly colored berries are full of anthocyanins and antioxidants, both of which play critical roles in combating oxidative stress, aging, inflammation, and neurodegenerative diseases.
According to the National Library of Medicine, some studies have found that the antioxidants in blueberries are capable of improving communication between brain cells, and may help strengthen memory and cognitive function in people of all ages.
2. Green Tea
Green tea has long been heralded as a superfood, and for good reason. Rich with L-theanine and amino acids, green tea is linked to improved focus, memory, and cognitive performance.
Interestingly enough, green tea can also make you feel calmer. Similar to curcumin, L-theanine breaks the brain-blood barrier, enabling it to increase the frequency of Alpha waves within the brain.
3. Fatty Fish
Roughly 60% of the human brain is pure fat, half of which is omega-3 fatty acid. Fatty fish is one of the most renowned natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids, making it a prolific brain food.
Fish like tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring are all great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Those fatty acids play a crucial role in brain development, using omega-3 to facilitate the building of brain cells, nerve cells, and the foundations of learning and memory.
But the benefits don’t stop there. The omega-3 oils found in fatty fish can also help ward off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and support the production of gray matter. Interestingly, a lack of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to depression and learning impairments.
4. Leafy Greens
Any dark, leafy green vegetable is likely to be good for your brain. This is because vegetables of this description typically contain high volumes of folate, B carotene, lutein, vitamin K, and phylloquinone, all of which possess natural neuroprotective qualities.
Some of the vegetables and edible leaves that contain these powerful properties include kale, broccoli, spinach, collard greens, and arugula. All of these amazing greens help fight against cognitive decline and boost general brain function.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
Nutty and delicious pumpkin seeds are a nutrient powerhouse. Rich in magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and iron, these seeds make great brain-boosting snacks.
Another health benefit of eating pumpkin seeds is that they help your body fight back against free radicals, protecting you from disease and keeping the entire immune system strong. Zinc especially plays a crucial role in nerve signaling, helping to combat neurological disease.
Nature’s gold, turmeric, is a mildly spicy, saffron-colored root with a texture similar to ginger—although you’re far more likely to see it in bright yellow powder form at your local supermarket. Turmeric has been a fundamental component of traditional medicinal practice, and there are plenty of reasons why.
Turmeric’s active natural ingredient, curcumin, can breach the blood-brain barrier. That means its benefits can get absorbed directly by brain tissue. Curcumin benefits memory, soothes depression, and promotes the production of new brain cells.
Walnuts are rich in natural fats that support both brain and heart health. Substantial evidence has been found that the regular consumption of walnuts dramatically reduces the risk of common diseases such as dementia, type 2 diabetes, and even depression.
These naturally fatty nuts also contain nutrients that boost cognitive function and inter-cell communication. When looked at from a certain angle, they even look like little brains!
8. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate with a cocoa content of more than 70% is considered dark chocolate. This delectable treat comes with surprising health benefits, such as the presence of flavonoids that naturally enhance memory retention and reduce the pace of cognitive decline.
Dark chocolate improves the flow of oxygenated blood between the body and brain, facilitating better mind-body connection and enhancing natural alertness, verbal learning, and concentration. Small, regular doses of dark chocolate are actually a very good addition to any diet.
An amazing source of healthy unsaturated fat, avocados, are as good for your brain as they are delicious. This creamy fruit contains monounsaturated fats which alleviate high blood pressure and significantly lower the risk of developing a cognitive disease like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Just like fatty fish, avocados contribute plenty of healthy, essential fatty acids that are essential for brain development and general cognition.
10. Whole grains
Whole grains include any natural grains that aren’t processed or stripped of their essential nutrients. Unprocessed quinoa, brown rice, barley, and oats are all chock-full of vitamins D, B, and E to help both body and brain fight off disease and infection.
These powerful grains also contain protein and anti-inflammatory properties, which facilitate memory improvement and overall cerebral function.
Sage is an often overlooked herb that actually contains a surprising bounty of brain-healthy nutrients. Several studies have found that the fragrant, silvery herb contains compounds that act as antioxidants, supporting both brain health and memory function in numerous ways.
Even small, infrequent consumption of sage has been found to enhance mental alertness, problem-solving, and memory recollection. Some studies have even found that sage has the potential to elevate mood, assisting with depression and anxiety.
Brain health is tantamount to general physical health. We take vitamins in every form to help keep our bodies healthy and strong, and we need to do the same for our brains.
By eating the right foods, you can help support your brain to become stronger, faster, and more open to learning new information, all without the help of Sudoku or 1000-piece puzzles—but those don’t hurt either.
Just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations, according to a study published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases.
Studies have shown that supplementation with extracts from fruits and vegetables may improve age-related changes.
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