What we put into our bodies can have a significant impact on overall health, but more specifically, it can jeopardize or improve our brain health. The brain is a relatively small organ given its function, but it uses about 20% of the body’s calories each day. This is why it is so important to have a healthy diet full of good fuel and energy-boosting compounds. The brain needs omega-3 fatty acids to help repair and build brain cells, and a diet full of antioxidants can reduce inflammation and cellular stress. These two things have been linked to brain degeneration found in a neurodegenerative disorder like Alzheimer’s. Here are some of the top foods that you can eat that positively impact your brain.
1. Oily Fish
Oily fish contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which help in the construction of cellular membranes. With their influence on neurons found in the brain, these fatty acids can increase blood flow to the brain. This brings more oxygen-rich blood cells to the brain, improving cognitive abilities. There is strong research that foods or supplements like Neuro Fuel that contain omega-3s boost brain health.
2. Dark Chocolate
More than just a tasty treat to fill desserts or satisfy a sweet tooth, dark chocolate contains cacao. This compound contains antioxidant elements called flavonoids. These are important for a healthy brain since oxidative stress can attach the brain and contribute to the development of brain diseases. Studies have shown how flavonoids found in cacao might help stimulate neuron and blood vessel growth in the parts of the brain that deal with memory and learning. There is also reason to believe that these elements might stimulate additional blood flow into the brain.
Research suggests that consuming berries is good for the brain because of the antioxidant properties of the flavonoids. In addition to relieving or preventing oxidative stress, antioxidants are also known for reducing inflammation, in conjunction with their properties of caffeic acid, quercetin, anthocyanin, and catechin. These compounds increase the ability of the brain cells to form new connections, which boost memory and learning. They are also instrumental in delaying age-related cognitive decline. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are some popular yet super healthy berry choices.
4. Seeds and Nuts
Studies are showing that the levels of omega-3s and antioxidants found in nuts and seeds can be influential in better brain function throughout the aging process. In addition to this property, they are also strong sources of vitamin E, which protect cells from oxidative stress related to the attack of free radicals. Aging increases the exposure to oxidative stress, which is one reason vitamin E is relied on to support brain health in older individuals.
5. Whole Grains
Consuming whole grains is another way to boost vitamin E levels, as these grains are a rich source of the nutrient. Some whole-grain foods include brown rice, whole-grain pasta, oatmeal, barley, whole-grain bread, and bulgur wheat.
A controversial addition to the diet, coffee is known for its ability to help people stay awake and stay focused. The caffeine blocks the adenosine found in the brain, which is what helps a person feel sleepy. In addition to boosting alertness, some research suggests that the brain’s capacity for processing information is improved through caffeine consumption. Research has linked caffeine to an increase in brain entropy, which helps aids the brain in complex activity. However, this is one food that should be considered carefully, as heavy caffeine consumption is not recommended by many physicians.
As a healthy source of unsaturated fat, avocado many support the brain through reducing health conditions that are known to impact brain performance. Eating monosaturated fats can reduce high blood pressure, which has been linked to cognitive decline. Good fats include flaxseed, chia seeds, almonds, peanuts, soybeans, fish, and sunflower or canola oils.
There are dozens of foods that can positively stimulate and nurture your brain health. Make your next grocery list a superfood brain buffet.