The old adage is true: you are what you eat. If you indulge in unhealthy food, your body will become unhealthy; if you decide to eat right, your body rewards you by looking right. But what about healthy brain function? Which superfoods will boost your brain power and reduce your chances of developing mental illnesses? Take a look below to find out.
All nuts are great for boosting brain function, but walnuts in particular are the best thing to eat if you want to boost your memory.
Walnuts contain lots of omega-3, vitamin E, Vitamin B6 and magnesium to help your brain function more smoothly.
Broccoli may not be everyone’s favorite vegetable, but it is the best one to eat if you really want to improve brain health and protect against brain damage.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane a substance that helps in maintaining the integrity of the blood–brain barrier (BBB) following an injury.
Also, broccoli is a rich source of vitamin C and several other antioxidants like carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and vitamin E.
3. Acai berries
Acai berries contain plenty of antioxidants and compounds that are good for your brain and body. Acai berries are believed to be beneficial for improving memory, concentration, and inducing good sleep. They have been used for hundreds of years by indigenous tribes in the Amazon rainforest due to their numerous health benefits.
According to a scientific study Acai berries enhance the neural housekeeping function of the brain and protect the brain from age related damage. The research also found that Acai berry extract provided protection against the release of inflammatory elements (Cox-2 and TNF-alpha) and enhanced the performance of microglia cells in the brain, responsible for the brains natural housekeeping functions.
This study was presented at the Society of Neuroscience by researchers at the Human Nutrition Research center on aging at the Tufts University, Boston (13 November 2010)
Fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve your brain’s cognitive performance and memory, among many other benefits.
Salmon and sardines are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), that can protect aging adults from ailments such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Make sure that you are eating wild salmon, as farmed salmon may contain high levels of mercury that can have adverse health effects.
Blueberries are not only delicious snacks, but they are also excellent for your brain. They contain flavanoids that help improve memory and assist in healthy brain function.
Flavonoids also help in protecting the brain from free radicals, which are considered damaging to health and linked to age related mental disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
6. Dark chocolate
That’s right, you can indulge in dark chocolate without guilt – it keeps you happier and more alert, and it contains antioxidants that help keep your brain healthy.
The caffeine content in dark chocolate helps you in staying alert and overall dark chocolate improves memory, concentration and response time according to a study by Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.
Avocados are great for improving blood flow and cardiovascular health while also helping to decrease bad cholesterol in your body. And they are great for your brain too – improved blood flow means improved brain function.
8. Acorn squash
Acorn squash is rich in folic acid and also contains vitamin B12, these two nutrients are necessary for keeping your memory and brain function running well regardless of your age.
As you must have noticed, women are often prescribed folic acid, vitamin B12, B6 supplements during pregnancy to prevent anaemia and help protect the baby from birth defects.
Spinach is rich in potassium, which is considered necessary for brain function. Potassium in blood acts like a conductor, helping in the electrical conductivity of the brain.
Spinach is also rich in antioxidants, folate, magnesium, vitamins E and K that facilitate brain functions and help protect the brain from age related damage.
The human brain is 77 to 78% water, so imagine what being dehydrated does to your brain! Lack of sufficient water in the body prevents nutrients and energy from reaching the brain and can cause problems like loss of focus, memory, brain fatigue and headaches.
Make sure you are drinking 10 – 12 glasses of water a day to keep your brain and body running smoothly.