Eating well is not just for the wellbeing of our bodies, but our minds too. The brain requires a regular supply of nutrients, just like our bodies and other vital organs do. Arguably the brain is the most important organ in the human body, it’s the control centre for everything we do. We all experience loss of cognitive function among other things as we age, so taking care of your brain throughout your life is extremely important.
Taking part in diets and fitness plans can sometimes neglect this fact while focusing on weight loss, so here are 10 foods that are important to our brains. Take a look through the list and see how many and how often you are getting these foods in your diet.
The brain relies on a supply of energy to function at optimal performance. If you want to be able to focus on a task in hand or concentrate over long periods of time, you need to deliver a steady supply of energy.
An effective way to do this is through wholegrains. Wholegrains are known to have a low-GI, which means they release glucose slowly into the bloodstream. The brain will receive some of this glucose and function better throughout the day. Keeping you more mentally alert, aware of your surroundings, and able to concentrate better.
The body cannot produce the kind of essential fatty acids that oily fish supply, so we must obtain them through our diets. Oily fish are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and these nutrients are extremely important for our brains, as well as our joints and wellbeing.
There are other foods that offer similar benefits, but the nutrients in oily fish are very easy for the body to digest. The fish richest in brain stimulating nutrients are mackerel, sardines, pilchards, salmon, trout, and herrings.
There has been a number of studies carried out linking blueberries and out memory. It’s believed that blueberries can not only help us strengthen our memories, but reverse the effects of memory loss.
Blueberries are packed with lots of antioxidants, valuable nutritional qualities, and the best thing is they are easy to come across and taste great. Motor function is one of the first things to decline as we age, blueberries have been proven to help with balance and coordination too.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant known to help with brain functions. They also contain other nutrients like vitamin C, and potassium. So this makes tomatoes another quick and easy way to get some important nutrients each day.
There is also evidence to suggest they protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells known to be a factor in the development of dementia, a serious disease affecting the brain.
Vitamin C has long been praised for helping our bodies with a number of health benefits, and mental agility is one of them. Try and incorporate blackcurrants into your diet as they are rich in vitamins such as vitamin C.
These are one of the lesser known brain foods. But pumpkin seeds are great for brain power, containing Omega 3 and Omega 6, two nutrients known to be very good for brain function. Along with a high zinc content, another ingredient directly responsible for enhancing memory and thinking skills.
Also rich in antioxidants they help strengthen the immune system, a good way to ward off potential illnesses that may affect the brain. They are a tasty little snack food too, so it’s an easy one to feed to kids without them feeling like they are being force-fed health food.
Broccoli is a superfood responsible for helping with a wide range of health benefits. It’s high in lingams, a compound known to benefit cognitive skills like; thinking, imagining, learning, remembering, and reasoning, certainly a special food for thought.
Its potassium content helps the nervous system, which is indirectly linked to improved brain function too. It’s a powerful vegetable, and certainly one to add to the shopping list if you don’t already.
Vitamin E is thought to be a major factor in preventing cognitive decline, something that affects us all as we age. Almonds and peanut butter are great ways to incorporate nuts into your diet, and they are rich in vitamin E along with other helpful vitamins.
Garlic has numerous ingredients helpful for the brain. It acts as a natural blood thinner, which helps the blood flow in and around the brain. Combating radical damage, and any potential blood clots. On a larger scale it has been shown to have a positive effect against brain tumours.
This is one food where I would recommend using supplements in place of the real thing sometimes. Garlic is well-known to release an odour, and eating some every day may be a problem for people around you – regardless of how much good it’s doing for your brain.
The brain is around 80% water, so drinking lots of water is a no ‘brainer’. Brains need to be hydrated to function properly, and seeing as we lose around 2.5 liters of water content each day through bodily functions, it’s recommended we drink around 1.5 litres.
If we are dehydrated it can compromise our cognitive functions, affect our mood, make it more difficult for us to concentrate, and cloud our thoughts. So keep your brain well hydrated, and drink fresh water.
Benefits of a Balanced Diet
With the exception of water you do not need to eat several of these foods daily. But we can all incorporate at least of one these super brain foods into our daily diet without too much disruption. We need to look after our brains throughout our lives, just because we do not experience aches and pains like our physical bodies, it doesn’t mean that everything is running optimally.
You’ll thank yourself later in life when you’re still thinking sharp, aware that you have great long-term memory, and experiencing better than average cognitive skills. Start making some changes today, and you’ll notice the benefits.