Today, people are doing all they can to improve their health, and most are finding that such improvement starts with a good diet. Rather than dieting to lose weight or burn calories, many are choosing to eat foods which researchers have found improve brain function.
There are a plethora of foods which do this, often through their combination of healthy vitamins and minerals. Here are the ten most healthy foods to eat to improve brain function and potentially stave off certain diseases.
This is the number one food to improve brain function by a number of metrics. Fatty fish includes salmon, trout, and sardines, among others. These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is good because about sixty percent of your brain is made of fat, and half of that fat is derived from omega-3.
Your brain thrives on omega-3 fatty acids, using it to improve cell and nerve function, and the fat within the fish help promote learning and memory. Studies have found that eating plenty of fatty fish can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease, among other benefits.
Coffee is surprisingly great for brain health because it’s chock full of both caffeine and antioxidants. Coffee can help you increase your alertness and response times, in addition to improving mood and sharpening your concentration.
These things are done by a combination of the chemicals adenosine, serotonin, and cortisol. Long-term drinking of coffee is also linked to prevention of neurological diseases, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
This healthy superfood has gained traction over the last five years of so as more research has been done to know why and how it works. Turmeric is a yellow spice which is primarily used in curry powder and benefits the brain in a number of ways.
The key component of turmeric is curcumin, its most active ingredient, which actually crosses the bloodbrain barrier to benefit cell inside the brain. Turmeric has been shown to improve memory and may ven ease depression by stimulating serotonin and dopamine function.
One of the healthiest foods around, broccoli is full of antioxidants and key vitamins and minerals. For example, broccoli is jam packed with vitamin K, so much that it delivers more than the recommended daily intake in just one cup.
Vitamin K is fat soluble and helps form sphingolipids, fats which are densely packed in brain cells and improve brain function. Vitamin K has also been linked to better memory throughout several studies. Broccoli is also great for fighting against inflammation.
The most active and important ingredient in dark chocolate is cocoa, or cacao. This ingredient contains flavonoids, which are a type of important antioxidant the body uses to fight and reduce inflammation.
Antioxidants are also important for brain health, as they contribute to the decline of oxidative stress throughout the body and can reduce age-related cognitive impairments. There are have been numerous studies down which show that flavonoids are great for the brain.
Similar to dark chocolate, berries contain a plethora of flavonoid antioxidants. Ingesting a variety of berries is great for both the body and brain, although the healthiest berry is the blueberry.
Unlike dark chocolate, berries contain a variety of antioxidants, such as anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin, and quercetin. These antioxidants improve communication in the brain and reduce inflammation throughout the body, helping people live longer, healthier lives.
Nuts and Seeds
Most foods on this rely on antioxidants or omega-3 fatty acids to provide healthy benefits, but nuts and seeds are actually more known for their healthy fats and proteins. Eating nuts and seeds is great for the brain, especially for older aged individuals.
Vitamin E helps protect cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals; aging individuals are more exposed and vulnerable to these free radicals, and therefore should ingest nuts and seeds to prevent oxidative stress which has been linked to a number of diseases. One study even found that frequent ingestion of nuts and seeds led to reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Whole grains are a great source of vitamin E, which makes them great for the brain. Whole grain foods include brown rice, barley, bulgur wheat, oatmeal, and bread and pasta. These foods have a plethora of vitamins and minerals within them and are known for reducing inflammation in the body.
Carbs are often associated with inflammation, but whole grains are healthier on average and won’t contribute to this negative health consequence.
The food of champions, avocados have widely been adopted by younger generations, who generally try to eat healthier and live more energized lives. Avocados are great because they’re an awesome source of unsaturated fats.
They also help support the brain because of oils and monosaturated found within the food. Avocados help lower high blood pressure because of their fats, which in turn lowers the risk of cognitive decline and improves life expectancy.
One of the most common breakfast foods, eggs can be a great source of brain health. Eggs are packed to the gills with vitamin B, in addition to vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and folic acid.
Recent research has been done to suggest that these vitamins may prevent brain shrinkage and lead to a lower risk of cognitive impairments, especially in older citizens. Be careful when eating eggs frequently, however, as they’re known to increase cholesterol, which can be unhealthy.
These are the foods which you should eat if you want to increase brain function and stave off cognitive declines as you age. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fats, and vitamins B and K are going to be the absolute best bets for this purpose, and these foods are high in each of these vitamins, minerals, and fats.