It’s a known fact that food greatly contributes to how your body works, including your brain’s performance. Whenever you feel energetic, alert, and focused –or you find yourself feeling foggy, irritable, and moody; rest assured that the food you had in your last few meals had something to do with it.
If you want to improve your cognitive health, there are certain brain-healthy foods you should include in your diet. Listed below are the top 8 foods known to improve brain function and protect it against cognitive impairment. These items are a combination of antioxidants, good fats, vitamins, and minerals all of which contribute to your brain performing at its best.
8 Best Foods for your Brain
Blueberries are one of nature’s best candy! It’s natural, nutritious, and super good for your brain. It’s rich in Vitamin C, K, and fiber which are antioxidants that help protect your brain from the destruction of free radicals.
In one study, they saw cognitive improvement in aging rats who consumed blueberries allowing them to perform mentally just as well as younger rats. Blueberries not only improve short term memory but it also reduces the effects of cognitive problems caused by aging such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Blueberries can be taken in whatever natural form you like whether it’s fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried. Aim for one cup a day to fully enjoy its benefits.
Avocados are a fatty fruit, but they contain the good kind of fat that helps promote brain health. The monounsaturated fat in avocados helps promote blood flow while the vitamin K and folate prevent blood clots from occurring. The same nutrients also improve cognitive function, particularly with memory and focus.
Avocados are high in calories, so they’re ideal for adding as a side dish. You can take advantage of its creamy texture by adding it to smoothies or creating a dip out of it.
3. Oily fish
Low DHA levels have been linked to cognitive problems like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory loss. Taking essential fatty acids such as omega-3 helps prevent these problems from happening and can even improve your brain function.
Essential fatty acids cannot be produced in the body naturally so the best way to consume it is by adding oily fish into your diet. Wild salmon, mackerel, herring, kippers, trout, sardines, and pilchards are all great sources of essential fatty acids.
The wonderful thing about these animal sources is that they contain the active form of EPA and DHA which makes it easy for the body to use.
4. Nuts and seeds
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can still enjoy the wonderful brain benefits of omega-3 through plant sources like seeds and nuts. Careful though as not all nuts and seeds were created equal. The best sources for these essential fatty acids include walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Nuts and seeds are also great sources of vitamin E which aids in cognitive decline that comes with aging. Aim to consume an ounce of nuts and seeds a day to improve brain health.
Beets are one of the healthiest foods you can eat for your brain. It helps increase blood flow to the brain and even prevent or delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Beets belong to the same purple family as blueberries as its rich in anthocyanins which are antioxidants that play a key role in protecting the body. Also, beets also contain betalain, which, in combination with anthocyanins, give it its deep rich purple color.
Broccoli is rich in vitamin K and choline which help improve memory, learning, and healing. It also possesses a chemical called sulforaphane which helps reduce brain swelling and rebuild damaged neural cells.
Broccoli can also improve your mood and prevent Alzheimer’s thanks to its high folic content. Studies suggest that a lack of folic acid could lead to depression. With this in mind, make sure to add broccoli to your daily recommended intake of leafy greens.
7. Dark chocolate
Feel free to indulge in dark chocolate now and then as this treat is rich in flavonoids that help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and enhance cognitive function. The high magnesium that’s found in chocolate is also known to help relieve stress and stave off cravings.
Magnesium is not readily available in our diets so the next time you find yourself craving for chocolate, it could mean your body needs magnesium.
Be careful which dark chocolate you consume. The ones you see in the supermarket are often laced with milk and artificial sugars so be sure to always read the label. Go for one that has 70% cacao. The more bitter it is, the better!
8. Bone Broth
Would you believe that your gut is your second brain? Yes. Turns out, there’s an entire ecosystem of bacteria and neural network in your guts that greatly affects your mood. So if you’re feeling snappy, irritable, and tired most of the time, it could be because your gut health is not in tip-top shape. To help with that is bone broth. Bone broth is one of the oldest remedies and for a good reason! It helps your immune system, digestive health, and brain function.
The bone marrow, where the broth comes from, contains essential fatty acids which improve cognitive function and promote neural healing and regeneration. Also, it also possesses high glycine content which helps reduce stress, improve memory, and mental alertness.
You can make bone broth easily by simmering bones for a few hours until it releases those essential minerals that are beneficial for your body. Try to avoid packaged bone broth that’s sold in the market as those can contain additives (sodium) which may not necessarily be good for you.
It’s important to accompany Flow State with brain-boosting foods to help maximize its effects.
How about you? What foods in your diet have made a great difference in your cognitive performance? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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