It may seem obvious but your brain is kind of a big deal. As the main driver behind ensuring that we stay alive, it’s important that we do all we can to keep it working in optimal condition. Keeping your brain stimulated and active–usually through reading, solving puzzles and riddles–is the way to guarantee that your mental muscles are functioning at their very best. This is the physical part of it. But how does one actually nourish their brain?
Nutritionists emphasize that just as there is no magic pill to cure illness, there is no single food that helps retain memory, boost cognitive power and protect against Alzheimer’s or other age-related diseases. Rather, having a balanced diet that includes all the food groups is a good way to keep your brain and body in working order. That said, there are certain foods that are dense in helpful components that could help you boost your brainpower and improve cognitive skills.
Research has found that foods rich in omega fatty acids are a type of memory booster; they can replenish brain cells and keep it healthy. TABIIB has compiled a list of foods to add to your diet for a healthier brain:
1) Fatty Fish
When talking about brain foods and memory power, fatty fish is at the top of the list. This type includes salmon, trout and sardines-all of which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. A diet including a higher level of these fats has been linked to a decline of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, look for plant-based omega-3 fatty acid supplements, such as flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds, to add to your diet (Only after consulting a doctor, though).
Your morning cup of tea or coffee gives you more than just short-term concentration. Researchers have found that caffeine intake leads to better memory retention and helps your brain solidify new memories. If you’re not a beverage person, you can get your daily intake of caffeine through dark chocolate-which contains flavonols and antioxidants that are good for improving cognitive function. Caffeine has a number of positive effects on your brain including increased alertness, improved mood, and sharpened concentration.
Like everything else in your body, your brain can’t survive without energy. The body gets it primarily through glucose that is stored as an energy reserve. Wholegrains are a brain booster because they contain low GI; they release energy into the bloodstream slowly and therefore, keep you mentally alert for longer stretches of time.
Blueberries provide numerous health benefits, some of which are especially helpful for your brain. They contain compounds called anthocyanins, which help in delaying short-term memory loss. Some of the antioxidants present in these berries have been found to accumulate in the neural pathways and help improve communication between brain cells.
5) Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard are nutritionally dense with brain boosting compounds and vitamins such as Vitamin K, folate, and beta carotene. Adding these plant-based foods to your diet may help slow cognitive decline.
Walnuts are high in alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), that helps lower blood pressure and protect arteries. In other studies, researchers have reported that a higher intake of walnuts is linked to overall brain health and cognitive power. Since walnuts are a rich source of Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant, they are an effective protection against onset of Alzheimer’s.
Broccoli is very high in Vitamin K, a fat soluble vitamin that is essential for forming sphingolipids–which are important for the development of the membranes in the brain–delivering more than 100% of the recommended daily intake. A few studies in older adults has linked broccoli to greater memory retention.
A nutritional diet packed with healthy monounsaturated fats supports brain function and helps improve memory. Avocados are loaded with the brain’s most needed nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and folate. The fats contained in avocados promote healthy blood flow to the brain and improve plasticity of the brain cells–they help solidify new memories, form pathways, and strengthen brain cell communication.
The kind of food we eat plays an important role in our overall well being. Certain foods are healthier for a particular organ than others. You can help support your brain health by incorporating these foods in your daily meals. Having a diet that is tailored to your body’s needs is the best way to ensure that you live a long and healthy life.
If you have questions about brain health and dietary requirements, book an appointment with the right doctor on TABIIB today.