Ever heard of the old saying “You are what you eat?”
Turns out that what we eat can actually affect our body and our BRAIN.
Eating the right food can help to improve our memory, cognitive functions, concentration, mood, decision making skills, and even our ability to deal with stress & everyday tasks.
Food And Brain Power
The brain is a complex and powerful organ that controls our ability to see, hear, feel, move, think and much more. It is the control center that helps our lungs breathe and keeps our heart beating. So our brain is kind of super important.
However, it is energy-intensive and uses over 20% of our body’s calories. So the food we eat can have a strong impact on brain structure, health, and energy. A healthy and nutritional diet can fuel the brain to function effectively all day, boost our cognitive skills and brainpower, especially as we age.
Researchers have found that “consuming specific nutrients and adopting a healthier diet” can cause an almost immediate boost in brain function. It can also help to maintain good brain function even in “very old age.” Studies also reveal that “particular nutrients influence cognition by acting on molecular systems or cellular processes that are vital for maintaining cognitive function.”
So if you are having problems remembering where you left the remote last time or unable to remember someone’s name, making small changes to your diet can help to boost your concentration, memory, and decision-making abilities. Eating the right brain food is the best and easiest way to boost your brainpower.
In this article, we are going to look at 10 best foods to boost the health and power of your brain.
Now let’s take a look at the foods to be naturally brainy and keep your brain sharp.
Top 10 Foods To Boost Your Brain Power
1. Green, leafy vegetables
We all know that vegetables are good for us, but leafy greens like broccoli and kale are superfoods that can improve our brain health. According to 2018 research “a daily serving of green leafy vegetables to one’s diet may be a simple way to contribute to brain health.” Research conducted by Harvard Medical School has found that plant-based foods can help to slow down cognitive decline.
Leafy greens like kale, broccoli spinach and collards are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, glucosinolates, beta carotene, folate and lutein. Broccoli is packed with vitamin K which helps in forming the fat sphingolipids that are abundantly found in brain cells. Studies also show that higher intake of vitamin K is linked to better memory in older adults. So make sure not to skip on those leafy veggies in your next meal.
Most of us are aware of the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, but this vibrant yellow spice is rich in Curcumin which helps to improve the oxygen intake in our brain. Turmeric not only boosts cognitive functions and memory, it also prevents oxidative damage and inflammation that causes Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies show that Curcumin, the principal component of turmeric, boosts docosahexaenoic acid or DHA in the brain which is essential for brain development and protection. Adding turmeric to your diet foods can also help to boost your brain power, grow new brain cells and improve mood and reduce depression by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Add some color and spice to your diet with turmeric and build a healthier brain.
Berries like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, mulberries and blackcurrants are power packed with antioxidants which protect our brain from oxidative stress. Flavonoid antioxidants, the natural plant pigments found in colorful berries have memory-boosting effects and improve spatial memory and learning.
Studies have shown that berries are good for the brain as they “prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases and improve motor and cognitive functions.” According to Harvard Medical School consuming two or more servings of blueberries and strawberries every week can delay memory decline. Research also shows that the antioxidant compounds in berries, especially blueberries, can improve communication between brain cells, increase plasticity, delay brain aging and boost brain health. Simply add some berries to your smoothie or breakfast and you are good to go.
4. Fatty fish
Oily fish like salmon, tuna, cod, sardines, herring and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to develop membranes in the brain cells and improve the structure of neurons. Studies reveal that high levels of omega-3s increases blood flow in the brain and improves thinking, cognitive skills, brain function and mental health.
Harvard Medical School says omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish lowers blood levels of beta-amyloid which creates harmful clumps in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have also found that fish consumption leads to slower cognitive decline with age. Consuming baked or cooked fish regularly can also increase gray matter in the brain which regulates emotion, memory and decision making. If you are thinking about boosting your brain power, then eating fatty fish is a great place to start.
If you’re vegan or don’t like fish, then you can opt for alternate omega-3 sources like soybeans, flaxseeds, walnuts, avocados or omega-3 supplements.
5. Coffee & tea
If you can’t think of starting your day without coffee or even tea, then here’s another great reason for you to grab a cuppa joe right after you wake up. We all know that coffee helps us to stay awake, improves focus and mood & helps to solidify new memories. By regulating adenosine in the brain, caffeine also helps to manage our sleep-wake cycle. But beyond improving concentration & alertness, caffeine in coffee helps to boost our brain’s ability to process information by increasing brain entropy, according to research. Coffee is also rich in antioxidants which helps in maintaining brain health as we age. One 2016 study found that coffee consumption reduces cognitive decline, risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and improves brain health.
Just like coffee, green tea also helps to boost brain function, memory, focus, alertness, mood, cognition and performance. Research shows that green tea has a beneficial effect on cognitive functioning and working memory processing. Green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine which improves alpha waves frequencies in the brain and helps us relax. Now you have no reason to stop yourself from grabbing another cup of these brain-healthy beverages.