Food for Thought: 8 Foods that Boost Your Brainpower
It’s no secret that brain function begins to decline as we grow older. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to boost the brain’s output and diminish the effects of aging. Certain foods can have powerful effects on your brain’s overall health, impacting memory, alertness, and cognitive function. Read on to discover some of the most powerful food sources for improving your brain.
Dark berries, especially blueberries and acai berries, contain high levels of antioxidants. These are crucial for maintaining a healthy brain. The brain is the part of the body most at risk of damage by oxidative stress. Adding berries to your diet is a great way to reduce the risk of harm by free radicals. What’s more, berries have been linked to better motor control and a decrease in symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The brain requires a steady supply of essential fatty acids in order to properly function, but the human body is unable to produce these nutrients on its own. Because of this, eating fresh cold water fish is an excellent way to ensure you brain receives enough of this powerfully protective nutrient. Salmon, trout, herring, and sardines are among the best choices, since they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that can help fight memory loss and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Nuts and Seeds
Like fresh fish, nuts and seeds are an excellent, natural source of essential fatty acids. Almonds, brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are all perfect choices, though any kind of nut or seed will have positive effects on mental acuity. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that walnuts in particular improve cognition among older adults, boost memory function and provide protection against oxidative stress and inflammation linked to chronic neurodegenerative disease.
Red meat contains high levels of B vitamins, including B12 and choline, which have been linked to diminished memory loss and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B deficiencies have been linked to lower mental acuity; including these nutrients in your diet can protect you from degenerative disease. Studies suggest that choline may also help protect the brain from shrinkage associated with age. But remember, too much red meat can lead to cardiovascular issues, so make sure you limit your consumption and keep your portion sizes small.
Whenever possible, you should strive to swap wheat and refined flour products with whole grains. They are high in fiber and packed with vitamins and nutrients that promote lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular inflammation. Healthy blood flow is essential for a healthy brain, and reducing the risk of hypertension through whole grains is a simple way to help. Some of the healthiest whole grains include amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa and millet.
When it comes to green tea, ditch the bottled or powdered varieties and opt for tea bags instead. Freshly brewed green tea contains a host of potent antioxidants, such as catechins, which fight the damage caused by free radicals. But that’s not all: green tea contains just the right amount of caffeine (a quarter of the amount in a regular cup of coffee), which in moderation helps improve memory and concentration.
Dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and collard greens, contain high levels of B vitamins and vitamin K, which help stimulate the brain, boost short-term memory, and improve general cognitive function.
Olive oil is an excellent source of healthy fat that the brain and body requires to function at optimum capacity. Studies have shown that using olive oil instead of cooking sprays or margarine can lead to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and memory loss. Adding a dash of olive oil to just one meal per day is enough to reap the powerful benefits.
The loss of brain function is a real threat, but countless studies have demonstrated that making dietary changes can have an enormous impact on reducing the risks of age-related degeneration. By adding some of these foods to your daily diet, it is possible to keep your brain healthy, alert, and functioning at the highest level possible. Give your brain what it needs; why not try one of these mouth-watering recipes?
- Brain Boosting Breakfast Bowl
- Happy Brain Salad