Have you ever wondered whether the food you consume every day is related to the functions of the brain? Well, it turns out that food affects your mental health more than you know. While most of us thought that food only affects the physical aspects of the body, scientists have discovered that the food we eat affects our brain as well.
Whether you want your brain to function actively during a vital exam or you want to stay sharp and focused while you work, paying close attention to what you eat can pay off in your favor. Having a balanced diet consisting of foods rich in nutrients and minerals help in increasing your cognitive abilities. Maintaining this in your diet can also ensure that brain is always in its best shape.
In addition to having a balanced diet, certain brain foods can help you attain a longer, more productive life and improved cognitive abilities. Brain foods are rich in good fats, antioxidants, minerals, and essential vitamins. These not only provide energy, but they also aid in protecting against various brain diseases. You may ask the question, “What are these brain-healthy foods?” To answer that, here is a list of the best brain foods that can help in improving brain functions and protect it from various diseases:
Avocados - Touted as the Healthiest Fruit for Your Brain
Avocados are one of the healthiest fruits that you can consume. It is also considered as one of the foods that improve brain function . Although avocados have high-fat content, it’s important to know that these are crammed with monounsaturated fats. This type of fats keeps your blood sugar levels in control and make your skin glow. Avocados contain folate and Vitamin K, which is a vitamin for memory and focus that helps in preventing blood clots in the brain. It also helps in improving the cognitive function of the brain by boosting concentration and memory.
They are also rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin B. These vitamins are not stored in the human body and need to be replenished every day. Also, avocados have lower sugar content and higher protein content than other fruits. All these benefits and brain-boosting properties of avocados have been instrumental in making the fruit very popular.
Source: University of Delaware
Chamomile tea - Aids You in Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
During the winter season, your circadian rhythm might get off due to the cold and the lack of sunlight. This is the time when you may experience difficulty while sleeping. This may also cause you to feel lethargic during the day. This is where chamomile tea comes to your rescue. Chamomile tea can help you sleep better during winters and can also boost your cognitive abilities, especially your ability to focus during working hours.
Source: Pace University in New York
Broccoli - Helps You Remember Verbal Instructions Better
Broccoli is one of the best power foods for your brain. It has high levels of choline and Vitamin K that help in keeping your memory sharp. It is also high in compounds called glucosinolates. These compounds improve brain power and cognitive functions. Glucosinolates also slow the process of acetylcholine breakdown. This is a neurotransmitter that makes our central nervous system perform efficiently while boosting brain’s functions.
Broccoli is loaded with Vitamin C. In fact, one bowl of broccoli provides you more than the adequate amounts of Vitamin C required by your body. In addition, broccoli contains lots of fiber, which makes you feel full very quickly. Many studies suggest that broccoli helps in improving verbal episodic memory. This is your brain’s ability to remember verbal instructions.
Source: Harvard Health Publishing
Black Beans - an Excellent Food for Brain Development
Black beans are an excellent and inexpensive source of protein, as compared to others. They also contain higher levels of folate and magnesium, which help reverse detrimental effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
This makes black beans an excellent food item, one that improves memory and also helps in brain development. Apart from being considered as a brain superfood, black beans are also great for the heart. This indirectly helps the brain as well, since a healthier blood flow in the body also means a more vigorous mind.
Source: Tufts University
Blueberries - Improve Your Spatial Memory
Blueberries come with various health benefits while tasting good, it is also rich in antioxidants. Blueberries also contain many nutrients and vitamins, including Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and fiber. The flavonoids present in blueberries are known to improve the spatial memory. They also help reduce inflammation. Flavonoids also function to protect the brain from potential risks that can be caused by inflammation.
These small berries also contain higher levels of gallic acid, which protect the brain from stress and degeneration. This acid also helps to get rid of toxic protein that are associated with age-related memory loss.
Beets - Boosts Blood Flow in Your Brain
Beets can be an intimidating food for many people. It might be because of its odd shape or taste which most people don’t like. However, there is no doubt that beets indeed offer fantastic health benefits. This root is one of the most nutritious plants you can eat.
Beets can reduce inflammation. Moreover, they are also rich in antioxidants. This is the reason why beets are an excellent choice for preventing cancer and helping the body get rid of the toxins present in the blood. Also, the natural nitrates present in beets also help in boosting the blood flow in the brain. This helps in promoting the brain functions, all of these result in improved brain functions.
Source: Wake Forest University
Dark chocolate - A Tasty Antioxidant
You might think that chocolates are very bad for your health. However, this thought does not apply to all kinds of chocolates. In fact, dark chocolate is good for health, dark chocolates are filled with flavanols that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They can also help in lowering your blood pressure and improve the blood flow from the heart to the brain.
However, you still shouldn’t go munching on all the dark chocolates you see. Most chocolates available in the market today are processed. Thus, these seldom have all the natural benefits that dark chocolates are supposed to have. Remember to buy chocolates that are least processed and contain at least 70% of cocoa. The rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate, the healthier it is.
Source: Penn State
Coconut oil - the Most Versatile Brain Food
Coconut oil is probably the most versatile oil that you can find. It’s used for cooking, hair and beauty treatment as well. However, apart from these well-known benefits of coconut oil, there’s something that most people still don’t know about, i.e., coconut oil is also very beneficial for your brain. It contains high levels of medium-chain triglycerides that help in breaking down ketones. Ketones are byproducts that act as a fuel for the brain cells.
Coconut oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties that help in suppressing inflammation in the cells. Studies have shown that coconut oil is beneficial for age-related memory loss. Moreover, it can also act as a probiotic that destroys harmful bacteria present in your gut.
Source: Hardin Simmons University
Celery - Prevents Inflammation of Brain Cells
Celery is a vegetable that offers various benefits to the human body. It contains high levels of polysaccharides and antioxidants. These act as natural anti-inflammatories that help in relieving pain caused due to inflammation, like joint pains. Celery is rich in various minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that help your body and brain in multiple ways.
Eggs - an Excellent Source of Vitamin D
A study from the University of California Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center and Rutgers University showed, Vitamin D deficiency is the main reason why the brain loses its cognitive abilities. Eggs are rich in Vitamin D, which help improve the brain’s cognitive skills. This is because eggs are considered to be good brain food
Egg yolks contain significant amounts of choline that help develop the fetal brain in pregnant women. Studies also suggest that eggs can make you happy because they contain B-12 folate, a compound known to produce hormones that make you happy.
Source: Egg Nutrition Center
Salmon - an Abundant Source of Omega-3 Fats
The human body cannot produce the essential fatty acids that are important for brain health. This is why you need to either consume supplements or maintain a diet that contains these fatty acids. One of the best foods that contain the essential fatty acids is salmon. Salmon is a type of fish that contains significant amounts of omega-3, EPA, and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to keep the brain healthy and improve memory efficiently. This makes salmon one of the best foods to improve memory.
A study from The University of Arizona suggests that feeding salmon to children can help in preventing ADHD. This manifests through the improvement of focus and concentration in kids. Also, some of the fatty acids that you find in salmon can prevent cancer and kill tumors developing inside the body. Salmon is considered as one of the best food for memory and brain development.
Source: Harvard Health Publishing
Walnuts - Improves Your Thinking Abilities
Walnuts are one of the best brain-boosting food that you can easily find. These nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. A study conducted in 2015 by UCLA have shown that walnuts are good for the brain. Furthermore, eating just one walnut a day can improve your cognitive health. Also, walnuts contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help in promoting mental alertness. Studies have shown that the Vitamin E present in walnuts can help in keeping Alzheimer’s disease at bay.
Source: Harvard Health Publishing
Whole Grains - Reduces the Risk of Brain Diseases
Whole grains are rich in fiber. These are also loaded with essential minerals and nutrients. The fiber present in whole grain helps lower the risk of cognitive impairment which leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Whole grains also help in reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, blood pressure, and many other cardiovascular disorders that increase the risk of heart and brain diseases.
Source: Tufts University
Olive oil - Fights Age-related Brain Problems
Extra virgin olive oil is full of antioxidants, thus making it one of the foods that help memory. These antioxidants that are present in olive oil are called polyphenols. Some studies indicate that polyphenols aid in improving memory and enhance learning ability. Polyphenols also help in reversing age-related diseases that reduce your brain’s cognitive skills. Olive oil also helps the body fight against ADDLs. These are proteins that act as toxins for the brain and cause Alzheimer’s disease.
While olive oil has been traditionally used in cooking, it is important to note this is not the best way of consuming this oil if your goal is to enjoy all its benefits. Cooking hydrogenizes the oil and decomposes it, which then strips the oil off its benefits. The best way to enjoy all the benefits of olive oil is by drinking or incorporating it raw into your food.
Source: Temple University
Spinach - the Best Vegetable for Memory and Focus
Like most green leafy vegetables, spinach is also perfect for both physical and mental health. Spinach is packed with Vitamin K, which is deemed as the best Vitamin for memory and focus. It is also observed that spinach can help in slowing down the decline of memory and cognitive abilities in adults. Spinach is also rich in Vitamin A that helps in reducing inflammation of the brain cells.
Source: Basyr University
Red wine - a Glass Full of Flavonoids and Antioxidants
It is seen that consuming red wine in moderate amounts is effective in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Red wine is loaded with antioxidants, specifically flavonoids, which are very good for your brain’s health. However, you must be careful with your intake. Red wine should not be consumed in excessive amounts as it may have negative impacts on your body, like other alcoholic beverages. For most people, drinking one glass a day will suffice for better results.
Pumpkin Seeds - Very Useful in Improving Your Mood
It might come as a surprise to you, but pumpkin seeds are rich in Zinc, which helps in promoting learning capacity and memory efficiency. It also contains magnesium, tryptophan, and Vitamin B, which aid in relieving stress and improving your mood. The next time you make pumpkin pie, don’t discard all those pumpkin seeds. You can dry and eat them afterward.
Furthermore, studies show that consuming pumpkin seeds also help promote sleep in patients who have insomnia.
Source: Illinios State University
Blackcurrants - Helps in Keeping Dementia and Alzheimer’s Away
Blackcurrants are rich in Vitamin C. It is a fruit that can help increase mental agility and cognitive power. Studies suggest that Vitamin C deficiency can increase the risk of age-related brain degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Moreover, Vitamin C is beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety. In addition, Blackcurrants are rich in antioxidants including flavonoids and polyphenolics
Turmeric - the Magic Spice Known for its Healing Abilities
Turmeric is a type of spice that has fantastic health benefits. Turmeric has been used in various ayurvedic medicines for centuries. Moreover, it has also been known for its exceptional healing properties. It contains a chemical compound known as curcumin, which is an active and influential anti-inflammatory agent. Turmeric also helps in boosting the antioxidant levels in the body. It also promotes the flow of oxygen to your brain.
Source: Vanderbilt University
Tomatoes - an Excellent Source of Lycopene
Tomatoes are the source of a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. This antioxidant helps in reducing cell damage that may lead to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Lycopene can also help prevent depression, which can cause further inflammation in the brain. Additionally, tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes, contain a nutrient called carotenoids. These nutrients help in improving cognitive abilities and promoting memory capacity.
Source: Harvard Health Publishing
Rosemary - Keeps Neurodegeneration of the Brain at Bay
You might have heard about the various benefits of rosemary oil. However, what you might not know is that rosemary is also excellent brain food. Rosemary contains carnosic acid, which protects your brain from neurodegeneration. It protects the brain against the chemical free radicals that are linked with Alzheimer’s, brain aging, and strokes as well.
Source: Texas State University
Want Faster Results? Try Brain and Health Supplements
Aforementioned are some of the best foods that improve your memory and concentration. They help in developing and enhancing various parts of your brain functions. However, you must remember that the nutrients and vitamins present in these foods are in limited quantities. This is why you need to be patient to see noticeable changes. If you need faster results, then you can always choose supplements from a trusted source.
One such trusted source is AlternaScript - a one-stop destination for the best of health supplements for your brain, gut, and general well-being. AlternaScript builds scientifically advanced health products that are designed to optimize your life. Here, you can find a nootropic supplement called OptiMind, a weight-loss supplement NatureThin, a sleep-aiding supplement called RestUp, and a probiotic called NuCulture.
So, what are you waiting for? Choose any of these clinically tested supplements mentioned above and enjoy a great life!