Like everything else in your body, your brain is highly effected by the foods that you eat. A nutrient-poor diet based on processed foods, for example, can lead to mental sluggishness and poor memory and concentration. On the other hand, healthy eating can greatly improve mental acuity and even help prevent the onset of serious conditions like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Below are five such superfoods that can boost your brainpower.
Whole Grain Products
The brain, just like any other organ, needs energy and one of the healthiest sources of this energy is the complex carbohydrates that come from whole grain foods. These carbs break down more slowly in the body and provide a stable, steady supply of glucose that the brain needs to keep alert and active throughout the day. Excellent sources of this are whole grain cereals, breads and pastas as well as brown rice, barley or quinoa.
Fish has long been known as “brain food” but it is only now that science is discovering why. Many fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, kippers and sardines are all rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that are needed by the brain for optimum health (it is also great for heart and joint health!). Fatty acids must be obtained through the diet as the body cannot make these for itself. If you are vegetarian, great plant-based sources include walnuts, soy beans, and flax or pumpkin seeds.
While all berries are excellent for general health, it seems that blueberries in particular are great for boosting brain function. A recent study out of Tufts found a link between regular consumption of these berries with the improvement or even delay of short term memory loss. This is likely due to its strong antioxidant properties; other antioxidant-rich foods have been linked to a decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
Tomatoes are another excellent food to consume regularly if you are interested in keeping your brain in top condition. This is because they are incredibly rich in lycopene. Lycopene is an incredibly powerful antioxidant that helps prevent the free radical damage to brain cells that is believed to be the underlying cause of dementia and other cognitive conditions.
Foods rich in B-vitamins, including many fruits and vegetables, can also help support good brain health. It has been shown that adequate levels of B6, B12 and folic acid in particular have been linked to lower amounts of homocysteine in the blood. This, in turn, can reduce the chances of a stroke and other conditions that can permanently damage brain cells.
The brain, like any other part of the body, needs to be nourished. Inclusion of the foods mentioned above can particularly help support continued cognitive function and even more importantly, reduce the risk of serious degenerative conditions like dementia that can seriously impair quality of life for the elderly.
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