Did you know that adding certain foods to your diet can enhance your cognitive functions and enable your brain to stay healthy and active?
The brain is an incredibly important organ in the human body.
In fact, the brain acts as a control center – coordinating actions and reactions that happen – from thinking to feeling to remembering and everything in between.
It’s responsible for keeping your lungs breathing and your heart beating. A brain-boosting diet is important to support both short and long-term brain functions. Essentially, eating certain foods allows you to keep your brain healthy and operating at peak performance.
Did you know the brain uses approximately 20% of the body’s calories? It needs a lot of fuel to maintain concentration throughout your day-to-day life. So how do you keep your brain healthy? What exactly is a brain-boosting diet and what does it consist of?
We’ve compiled a list of 15 foods that keep your brain healthy and boost its function naturally:
1. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish tops the list because they’re such a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids – an important factor when it comes to building brain and nerve cells. These fats are crucial for memory and learning. Consider adding more trout, salmon, and sardines to your diet.
Blueberries deliver anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds that deliver surprising antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The antioxidants have been found to improve communication between brain cells while lessening the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
A very popular root vegetable, beetroot is loaded with vitamins and minerals that are essential for the entire body. It contains nitrates that boost blood flow to the brain and cancer-fighting antioxidants that help rid the blood of toxins.
Celery is very nutrient-dense — loaded with vitamins and minerals, and low in calories. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and has high levels of antioxidants and polysaccharides. Celery also boosts brainpower and helps to alleviate the symptoms of IBS and joint pain.
5. Dark Chocolate
Who doesn’t love a good piece of dark chocolate from time to time? Good news… It’s packed with caffeine, antioxidants, and flavonoids – a group of antioxidant plant compounds.
They gather in areas of the brain responsible for learning and memory – helping to improve both capabilities while reducing the risk of age-related mental decline.
6. Coconut Oil
One of the most versatile and healthy out there, coconut oil has many uses and health benefits. It is a natural anti-inflammatory that suppresses the cells responsible for creating inflammation in the body. It also helps with memory loss and promotes a healthy gut system.
If you can’t go without that morning cup of coffee, you’ll be happy to hear that the caffeine and antioxidants found in this beloved favorite are great for your brain. The caffeine blocks adenosine, a chemical that makes you tired. It’s even been found to reduce the risk of various neurological diseases.
Nuts and seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, as well as antioxidants. Vitamin-E, in particular, is found in nuts and seeds – protecting cells from oxidative stress resulting from free radicals. The best nuts and seeds include almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds.
Avocados are a great source of healthful unsaturated fat, which may reduce blood pressure. It’s been found that high blood pressure is linked with cognitive decline, which means eating avocados can lower the risk of cognitive decline as they reduce blood pressure.
Do you eat eggs for breakfast? If so, you’re on the right track to a healthy brain! Eggs are an effective choice when it comes to eating a brain-boosting diet because they’re a great source of various B vitamins, including vitamin B-6, B-12, and folic acid. These vitamins may prevent cognitive decline.
11. Soy Products
Soybean products are rich in polyphenols, a group of antioxidants linked to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive issues. The polyphenols present include daidzein and genistein – chemicals that act as antioxidants to provide a number of health benefits.
There’s been a lot of talk about turmeric and its potential brain-boosting capabilities. In fact, curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, has been shown to enter directly into the brain – benefiting the cells in a multitude of ways.
It’s a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that can help improve memory and increase brain cell growth.
13. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that boost brain function and reverse brain aging. It also induces Alzheimer’s by fighting against toxic ADDLs proteins. Olive oil is versatile and can be added to almost any low-heat dish.
Broccoli is filled with antioxidants and vitamin K. Studies have found that a high vitamin K intake is related to better memory. The antioxidant effects of broccoli also protect the brain against damage.
The body requires sufficient nutrients to function, which is why those with anorexia can experience cognitive problems, and in some cases, brain damage.
The main ingredient in rosemary, Carnosic acid, helps protect the brain from neurodegeneration. It destroys chemical free radicals that are linked to strokes, brain aging, and Alzheimer’s.
Why Choose Brain Healthy Foods?
You have a wide range of choices when it comes to the foods you eat on a daily basis. But consider this… The brain is always “on” – taking care of your movements, thoughts, breathing – everything you do.
It works hard around-the-clock, even when you’re sleeping at night. Ultimately, your brain requires constant fuel to keep it going. The foods you eat directly impact your brain’s ability to do its job and stay healthy & functional.
If you eat the foods listed above, you’re giving your brain the best of the best. This will help you function better now and well into the future. There’s no denying that as we age, our body and brain ages right alongside us. But maintaining a proper healthy diet can keep you feeling a bit sharper, no matter what age you are.
Go ahead and choose two or three of these brain healthy foods and incorporate them into your daily diet. Try to incorporate them each week and you’ll be eating a diet rich in brain-boosting foods before you know it!