We have always been reminded that we are what we eat, though we often take this to mean how we look and our general body health. However, the latest research shows that what we eat affects the health and function of our brains. Your brain is vital because it is your body’s control center. The brain controls all your bodily functions, for example, your heartbeat, lungs, movement, and even feeling and thinking.
The brain is one of your body’s most energy-intensive organs, taking up to 20% of your calories. Your brain needs clean and good fuel in the form of food to function optimally throughout the day. Besides, the brain requires certain nutrients and minerals to repair brain cells and reduce inflammation. Eating the right kind of food that supports brain function is essential to stay mentally sharp and focused. Below are some of the top foods that will help support brain function and boost memory.
1. Oily fish
Oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for building membranes around brain cells. Omega 3 fatty acids aid in improving the structure of brain cells, also called neurons. A study carried out in 2017 uncovered that participants with high omega-3 fatty acids levels had increased blood flow to the brain. The research established a clear connection between omega-3 levels and better cognition and thinking capabilities.
Incorporating oily fish into one’s diet could therefore help boost brain function. Some examples of oily fish containing high omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, Sardines, Herring, Nile Perch, Tuna and Mackerel. Besides oil fishy, some plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids are nuts, flaxseed, soybeans and other seeds.
2. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are great for our brains as they help keep memory loss and other symptoms associated with dementia at bay. Consider swapping leafy greens such as kale, spinach, lettuce and Swiss chard with empty carbs on your plate to boost your brain function.
A study that evaluated the relationship between the eating patterns and cognitive ability of 950 adults over 5 years found that those participants who ate a serving of leafy greens at least once a day had slower mental deterioration compared to those who had no vegetables, even after factoring in other variables like age, education and a history of dementia in the family. Green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins A and K which help the body fight inflammation.
In addition, green leafy vegetables are important for a healthy gut microbiome, and there is that important brain-gut connection within our bodies. If you want that extra brain power, leafy greens should start covering a bigger portion of your plate at every meal.
3. Adaptogen herbs
Adaptogens are herbs and mushrooms that can help the body adapt to stress and anxiety and support overall well-being. Adaptogens support the endocrine system by alleviating stimuli to stress, thereby re-establishing balance in the body’s mechanisms.
Nootropics are a specific class of adaptogens that boost cognition by working on the hypothalamus found in the brain to eliminate stress while improving memory and cognition. Some of the most potent adaptogens are; Ashwagandha, Reishi Mushrooms, Mucuna Pruriens, Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba.
Are you looking for a natural and healthy replacement for candy? Look no further than berries. Besides having a great taste, berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries etc., are some of the highest flavonoid anti-oxidant-rich foods in the human diet.
In addition to their high levels of vitamins c and K, berries are loaded with gallic acid, anthocyanin, quercetin, catechin and caffeic acid, which makes them excellent at protecting the brain from cognitive decline, degeneration and stress.
5. Healthy Oils – Avocado, Coconut and Olive
The brain is made up of about 60% fat. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most recommended brain foods because of its monounsaturated fats and polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. Studies show that frequent consumption of olive oil is associated with improved learning and memory among adults. Also, olive oil helps the body eliminate ADDLs proteins which have been found to induce Alzheimer’s. It is advisable not to heat olive oil but to use it at cold or room temperature because it hydrogenizes and starts to decompose at higher temperatures.
Coconut oil suppresses brain cells that contribute to inflammation, fights age-related memory loss and kills harmful bacteria in the gut. Furthermore, coconut provides healthy fats and fiber to support a healthy gut.
Avocados are a great source of healthy unsaturated fat that support brain function. The healthy fats in avocado help reduce high blood pressure, which is linked to cognitive decline.
The foods covered in this article will boost your memory and heighten concentration due to the compounds they contain that support optimal brain function. In addition, these foods will reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinson’s while helping your body maintain a healthy gut microbiome.