That foods such as fish are essential brain foods had been dismissed as simply just another old wives’ tale until recently. However, the brain needs nutrients as much as any other organ in your body. Whether your goal is to improve your memory or simply to stay sharp and focused, studies have found that the foods listed below are beneficial for brain function and should, ideally, be a regular part of your diet:
Consuming fish even just once a week can improve your brain function by making the organ stronger, thicker and also more resilient. A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the brains of those who consume fish have brains which are more voluminous than those who don’t. The benefits are so significant they even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by a whopping 53% by increasing the volume of the hippocampus (the brain’s major learning and memory centre) by no less than 14%.
Of note though, is the fact that it is baked or broiled – never fried – fish that confer these benefits to the brain, leaving the brain with larger volumes of gray matter in areas that take care of cognition and memory in the elderly. In fact, fried fish has a surprising lack of benefits to offer to one’s gray matter.
Especially good for the brain are oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood, especially fatty fish, also offers plenty of Vit D which helps keep your brain sharp and protect it.
The yolks of eggs have present in them various vitamins and minerals which are known to aid the betterment of brain health. It is also rich in iron, which is vital to the production of RBCs or red blood cells which transport oxygen to your brain. In this manner, eggs help keep you alert and focused. They are also a treasure trove of Vit B12 and iodine, which help improve memory.
Green Leafy Vegetables
It is common knowledge that dark green, leafy vegetables are superb for the maintenance of your overall health. It is a lesser known fact that that they are equally beneficial for the health of your brain. Generous portions of broccoli and spinach can not only keep your brain functioning efficiently but also improve memory significantly as they are full of antioxidants, beta-carotene, folate and Vit C.
Also packed with Vit K are greens such as kale, spinach and collards which have been shown to slow down the decline of cognitive function. Typically, people who eat 1 to 2 servings of green leafy vegetables every day are seen to have the cognition of a person a whopping 11 years younger than those who consumed none.
Did you know that water makes up over a whopping 70% of one’s brain? Is it at all surprising, then, that it needs proper hydration to function well? Enter green tea, which is not only, of course, a hydrant but also improves memory and increases the levels of your mental alertness. Not to forget, the high amounts of antioxidants present in green tea reduce the risk of dementia.
Dark chocolate is known to contain flavonoids which improve cognition. They do this by aiding the creations of new neurons in the brain and improve the ability to create and retain new memories. Aside from this, they also improve and optimize the flow of blood to the brain.
An excellent source of polyphenols – which are powerful antioxidants that can help prevent and even reverse disease- and age-related memory problems – olive oil too aids brain function. Research which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that extra virgin olive oil improves memory and learning, and other studies have shown that swapping saturated fats for mono- and polyunsaturated fats (like the kind found in olive oil) is associated with a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
This super berry contains an antioxidant—anthocyanin—that may be particularly healthy for your brain. Recent research from Tufts University found that anthocyanins can cross the blood-brain barrier, protecting brain cells from oxidation and boosting communication between brain neurons. A Harvard Nurses’ Health Study of 16,000 women over the age of 70 found that women who consumed 2 or more half-cup servings of blueberries or strawberries per week remained mentally sharper than those who didn’t eat the berries. Tufts animal studies have found that blueberries help improve short-term memory, navigational skills, balance and coordination.
Now that you’re all set, pick up these foods and consume them regularly in your diet for better cognition, memory and reduced risk of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.