Brain Health plays an important role in maintaining overall health for all of us. Whether you want to optimize your nutrition during exam season or stay sharp in your next work meeting, paying attention to your diet can really pay off. Although there’s no single ‘brain food’ to protect against age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, thinking carefully about what you eat gives you the best chance of getting the nutrients you need for cognitive health and mood.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes these 5 everyday brain-boosting foods may help to keep your memory, concentration, and focus as sharp as can be.
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Berries for Brain Health
Berries are filled with flavonoid antioxidants which research suggests may be a good food to improve brain health. Antioxidants have the ability to reduce inflammation in the body and still can be a major benefit for the brain as inflammation in the brain leads to a myriad of complications. By reducing inflammation in the brain, your memory can also improve and communication between your brain cells also has the potential to benefit as well.
Evidence accumulated at Tufts University here in the United States suggests that the consumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short-term memory loss. They’re widely available, but you can also achieve the same effect with other dark red and purple fruits, like blackberries, and veg, like red cabbage.
Coffee, as consumed by a vast majority of adults in the world, is another great source of antioxidants, which can help benefit your brain health. Research says coffee can often produce increased alertness by blocking a chemical messenger called adenosine, which causes you to feel sleepy.
If you’re not much of a coffee fanatic, green tea is an alternative morning beverage for a (smaller) dose of caffeine and other brain benefits. Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which can cross the “blood-brain barrier”, improving neurotransmitter activity in the brain.
Leafy greens are on most healthy food lists and when benefiting the brain, they’ve got to be included. Vitamin K is an essential nutrient that aids in improving memory and helps regulate the formation of fat inside brain cells.
Greens also contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps preserve eyesight and increase cognitive function in older adults.
Omega 3s are the primary nutrient in most mackerel, salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, and other types of fatty fish which are essential to promoting brain function. Omega 3s have been linked to a lowered risk of developing age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. About 60% of your brain is made up of fat and omega 3s account for almost half of that.
Those who consume fish on a regular basis have also been shown to have higher levels of gray matter in the brain – this is responsible for much of your decision-making and memory.
Learn more about the health benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oils
Not only is turmeric high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, it can also pass the “blood-brain barrier”, meaning that its nutrients can directly travel to the brain when consuming turmeric.
Curcumin is an active ingredient in turmeric which can help stimulate the growth of new brain cells and improve memory in the brain. Curcumin boosts serotonin and dopamine levels, which can reduce the risk of developing depression.
Brain Health Supplements
Although research linking diet and dementia is still in its infancy, there are a few important relationships between nutrients and brain health that are worth exploring. Having a nourishing, well-rounded diet gives our brain the best chance of avoiding disease. If your diet is unbalanced for whatever reason, you may want to consider a multivitamin and mineral complex and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement like Essential Omega-3 to help make up a few of your body’s needs. If you are considering taking a supplement it is best to discuss this with your Doctor or qualified healthcare professional.