‘You are what you eat’, they say. It is not a secret that to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food. While it’s important to have a balanced healthy diet for the sake of your mind and body, there is one organ in the human body that needs special attention, and that is your brain. Being the control center of your body, the brain is in charge of all the processes in the human body: keeping the heart beating, lungs breathing, allowing you to move, feel, and think. That is why it is always crucial to keep the brain in top working condition.
Just like any other organ in the human’s body, brain ages with time too. While nothing can stop your brain from aging, the goal should be to slow this process down and ensure a sharp brain as you age. There are many foods that can help you achieve this goal.
In general, a healthy diet should include a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Some components, like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants, are known to support brain health and alertness. Try to choose healthy fats, such as olive oil or canola, rather than saturated fats. Some fruits and vegetables in this list, as well as tea and coffee, have antioxidants that help protect your brain from damage.
Below is the list of foods that are especially good for brain health:
Green, Leafy Vegetables
Protect the brain from damage
Kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli are packed with vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Vitamin K is essential for forming sphingolipids, a type of fat that’s densely packed into brain cells. Besides, green vegetables are rich in antioxidants which help protect the brain from damage.
Delay memory decline and brain aging
Blueberries, strawberries, and other deeply colored berries deliver anthocyanins, a group of elements that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. They accumulate in the brain and help improve communication between brain cells.
Improve cognition and memory
Nuts are full of healthy fats, proteins, antioxidants and vitamin E. Omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in nuts, helps lower blood pressure, and protects arteries. That is good for both the heart and brain. Walnuts have the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids compared to other nuts. Vitamin E shields cell membranes from free radical damage, which helps to slow mental decline.
Build brain and nerve cells, improve memory, slow down mental decline
Salmon, trout, sardines, canned light tuna, and pollack are all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and they are low in mercury. The deficit of omega-3s is linked to learning impairments, as well as depression. On the flip side, sufficient omega-3s slow down age-related mental decline, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, increase gray matter in the brain, which controls decision making, memory, and emotions.
Green Tea and Coffee
Improve concentration, alertness, and mood
Both coffee and green tea are rich in caffeine and antioxidants, which have several positive effects on the brain. Caffeine keeps your brain alert and focused, boosts serotonin, and improves mood, while antioxidants reduce the risk of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Besides, green tea is rich in L-theanine, an amino acid that increases the frequency of alpha waves in the brain, helps reduce anxiety and makes you feel more relaxed without making you feel tired.
Regulate mood, improve memory
Eggs are a great source of vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and choline. Choline, which is found in egg yolks, helps regulate mood and memory, while the B vitamins may help slow the progression of mental decline,
regulate sugar levels in the brain and prevent depression.
In addition to including these foods in a daily diet, it may be a good idea to take supplements to improve brain function. Taking vitamins B, C, or E, beta-carotene, or magnesium can improve mental performance. Taking these supplements is advised for people who have a deficiency in those elements.
That said, by strategically incorporating these foods in your diet on a daily basis, not only do you improve your brainpower short term, but you also invest in the future of your mental health and prevent many diseases.