For most people, making an effort to eat healthily is done with the goal of weight loss, muscle building or skin health in mind. While these are great reasons to improve your diet, we seldom consider one of the most important parts of the human body: our brain.
This vital organ is responsible for every bodily function, from thinking to feeling to seeing to moving and just about anything else you can think of. It would then make sense to keep your brain in the best condition possible. Fortunately, there are a number of foods that can make a noticeable impact on your brain power. Here are six of the best.
Among their many other health benefits, blueberries and similar dark-colored berries reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which are linked to brain ageing. The antioxidants in blueberries are believed to improve brain cell function and delay memory loss, giving you one more reason to include this delicious fruit in your breakfast.
Fatty fish include salmon, trout, and sardines. Our brains are about 60% fat and half of it is made up of omega-3. Fatty fish happens to be a rich source of omega-3. This fatty acid is known to reduce mental decline from ageing, building brain cells and improving memory.
In fact, studies have found that insufficient omega-3 can result in depression and learning impairments. Another study found that the brains of people who frequently ate fatty fish had higher amounts of grey matter, which is what contains most of your brain cells that are responsible for emotion, memory, and decision-making.
Pumpkins are a rich source of iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper. These nutrients make up a significant portion of your brain and perform a number of important functions. For example, iron deficiency is linked to brain fog while magnesium is important for memory and learning.
Zinc is vital for nerve signaling. Not having enough zinc in your diet can lead to the development of neurological conditions such as depression and Parkinson’s disease. A similar effect can be expected from magnesium deficiency.
There are two main ingredients in coffee that have positive effects on the brain. Caffeine is the most well-known. It blocks adenosine, a sleep-inducing chemical, increasing your alertness and concentration. The other ingredient is antioxidants, which are linked to the reduction of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Eggs contain a number of brain health-related nutrients, including folate, choline, and Vitamins B6 and B12. Most of us don’t get enough choline in our diets, despite it being an important macronutrient that regulates mood and improves memory. Egg yolks contain a particularly high concentration of choline, around 112mg.
A lack of folate in your diet is linked to age-related mental decline, commonly resulting in dementia among the elderly. A similar effect has been linked to Vitamin B deficiency. If you’re keen on cooking up a morning breakfast with eggs on the pan, be sure to read up on this article that explains if vegetable oil is healthy or not.
Dark chocolate is one of the richest sources of flavonoids, antioxidants, and caffeine, all of which are known as brain-boosting compounds. Studies have found that dark chocolate is capable of improving your mood and that its flavonoid contents may enhance memory.
However, it’s not yet known whether chocolate improves our mood because of the compounds it contains, or whether its great taste just makes us happy. Either way, it’s by far one of the healthiest ways to bring a smile to your face.
Other brain-boosting foods include nuts, broccoli, and turmeric. Including them in your diet will not only keep your brain in peak condition but also go a long way in improving your overall health.