Do you want to improve your memory, concentration and mental health?
You may not realise it but the foods you eat can play a big role in helping to achieve this.
The brain itself uses a lot of energy as it works incredibly hard keeping you functioning and alive.
Every day and every night the brain uses around 20% of your daily calories as it is involved in all of the bodies functions so it is a good idea to make sure that the energy you supply it with is made up of good sources of nutrition to allow it to maintain concentration throughout the day and also to ensure its health for the future.
So, what does a brain boosting diet look like?
We do know that the best foods for the brain are those that are also good for the heart and blood vessels and these are food that are generally unprocessed and look at least in part like plants that you’d recognise. Fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are an essential part of a healthy diet alongside protein obtained from plants, fish and healthy fats like olive oil.
- Oily Fish
- Dark Chocolate
- Nuts and Seeds
- Whole Grains
There is an antioxidant compound contained in blueberries and this will help to reduce inflammation in the brain, this will in turn reduce the risks of developing neurodegenerative diseases from an aging brain. The antioxidant properties have also been shown to increase plasticity helping the brain form new connections which will help to when learning new skills and also for memory retention
Broccoli is rich in many nutrients and is in fact one of the most nutritious of all the vegetables. It has significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory, good for brain health and also compounds called glucosinolates which when broken down into isothiocyanates can reduce oxidative stress. Broccoli also contains lots of Vitamin C and flavonoids, further antioxidants to boost brain health.
Kale contains lots of important nutrients important for the health of our bodies and brain but it also has an important brain boosting ingredient called lutein. The body is unable to manufacture lutein on its own so it must be obtained from food sources. Lutein has been linked in studies to sharper cognitive function, especially amongst the older population probably due to its role as an antioxidant.
4. Oily Fish
Omega-3 that is found in oily fish is a key nutrient that helps in the building of membranes around every cell in the brain and body improving the structure of brain cells known as neurons. Omega 3 also increases blood flow in the brain which helps improve cognition and memory.
5. Dark Chocolate
Cacao is an ingredient contained in dark chocolate and cacao contains a type of antioxidant known as flavonoids.
The antioxidant properties help reduce oxidative stress in the brain and the flavonoids may also encourage growth in the memory and learning parts of the brain.
Turmeric is an amazing spice and very beneficial to the brain as it contains curcumin, one of the most powerful natural occurring antioxidants ever identified helping with the reduction of oxidative stress boosting brain health
7. Nuts and Seeds
The omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidant Vitamin E all contribute to better brain health and people who eat nuts and seeds have better brain function.
Avocados are an amazing fruit that contain monounsaturated fats promoting healthy blood flow in the brain. They are also full of essential nutrients, including folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and copper, all beneficial for brain health.
9. Whole Grains
Whole grains including brown rice, bulgur wheat, whole grain bread and pastas release glucose slowly into the bloodstream enabling us to receive a steady supply of energy in our blood. Because it is released slowly it enables our brains to remain alert throughout the day.
Eggs are a great source of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid these vitamins have been shown to prevent brain shrinkage enabling our brains to stay healthier for longer.
It can be seen that many of the foods that are beneficial to brain health contain antioxidant properties plus a variety of other nutrients. The good news to choosing foods that help the brain is the knowledge that they will also benefit the body as well