Last Updated June 13th, 2021
Why do you need to feed your brain?
Your brain is the principal coordinator of your entire body. This central coordinator needs to be feed with the necessary food to help it stay smart and healthy. At some point in your life, you tend to face stress be it physical or mental. Well as the saying goes, you are what you eat.
Brain foods aren’t restricted to just one food item that stands accountable for brain superpower, but the nutrients necessary for the brain are available in different foods and in different forms. You may find it odd to eat specified food for the brain alone but science has proved that it is essential that your diet plan consists of a small portion of food for your brain.
List of brain-enriching foods
When speaking about brain foods the first food that comes to everyone’s mind is fatty fish. Fatty fish is nothing but fish like salmon, trout, and sardines. These fish are great sources of omega-3 fatty acid and contributes a fair share in brain health. As well aware, 60% of the brain is made up of fat known as omega-3s. This fatty acid helps build the brain and the nerve cells present in the brain. They help you retain your memory and play a vital role in the learning process. Studies have proved that the intake of fatty fish has increased the gray matter content in the brain, which helps control decision making, memory, and emotion. So don’t ever skip your fatty fish as they are your kick-starters for a brainy day.
Olive oil is packed with rich sources of polyphenols, which are soldiers that protect your brain. It consists of several antioxidants that help improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive disorders by keeping the brain healthy. It is a well-known food that has been used to reduce the risk related to depression and dementia Apart from such nutritional benefits, it is also nurtured with amazing anti-inflammatory properties that improve overall healing and health.
If coffee has been a part of your breakfast then you are glad that you are feeding your brain. Coffee consists of caffeine and antioxidants. These two ingredients make your brain stay awake. The caffeine in coffee helps you stay alert. It blocks adenosine (a chemical messenger that sings a lullaby for you) and keeps your brain alert and vigilant. Secondly, caffeine is graced with the bliss to boost your mood. It causes your “feel-good” neurotransmitters like serotonin to act and play its vital role in making you feel good. Thirdly, caffeine helps your concentration stay sharp and improves your productivity all through the day. The consumption of coffee on a continuous basis is linked to reducing the risk associated with several neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It is capable of doing so because of the antioxidative properties found in it.
The properties and benefits of blueberries are numerous and specifically designed for the brain. Blueberries along with other colored berries deliver anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that, depending on their pH, may appear red, purple, or blue. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries but also dark cherries, goji berries, and mulberries are rich sources of anthocyanins. It caters to two major conditions they are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. The antioxidants present in blueberries act against oxidative stress and inflammation and keep such conditions under control. They also keep a watch on brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases.
The accumulation of the antioxidants in the brain which are obtained from blueberries, influence a better communication pathway between the brain cells. Studies have also proven that a sprinkle of blueberries on your breakfast could contribute to delaying short-term memory loss.
You may be under the perception that turmeric is a curry ingredient and a skin therapeutic powder but well despite its varied benefits it does the needful to keep your brain healthy too. Turmeric consists of active ingredient curcumin, which can cross over the blood-brain barrier and benefit the cells in the brain. Turmeric has been for ages known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The curcumin in turmeric helps improve memory in people affected with Alzheimer’s. It has the capability to do so because it helps clear the amyloid plaques which are a hallmark to Alzheimer’s. It is a natural booster of serotonin and dopamine, which are the major mood-boosting switches of your body. Curcumin stimulates these two boosters and helps in improving depression symptoms. It is said to be as powerful as an antidepressant.
Curcumin also has a natural tendency to boost brain-developed neurotrophic factor (peptides or small proteins – that support the growth, survival, and differentiation of both developing and mature neurons) and help in regenerating new cells. This, in turn, helps delay age-related mental decline. Well, you needn’t take a spoonful of turmeric as such, but can enjoy its benefits by adding it to your curries and other delicious dishes, if you were already doing it high-five to you.
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are loaded with brain-boosting compounds that make it brain-friendly eatables. The major brain boosting elements present in dark chocolate are flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants. Flavonoids are plant-based compounds that behave as antioxidants. The flavonoids present in chocolate assemble in the areas of the brain that handle learning and memory. They are numerous studies that back the benefits of chocolate in brain health and have also portrayed that it helps slow down age-related mental decline.
Dark chocolates also contain a natural caffeine property that helps you stay vigilant and alert. It also does enhance your focus. Dark chocolates have the potential to improve blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation. Gone are the days were once the chocolate was deemed as an enemy.
Almonds and walnuts
Almonds and walnuts are excellent dietary additions that make you meet all ends when related to health. These two healthy snacks or meal addition contribute to strengthen brain cells and improve cognitive function. These two healthy nuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that are the essential nutrient that improves brain function. Apart from providing omega-3 fatty acid, they are also rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant. This natural antioxidant acts as a powerful brain protector and has been linked to reducing symptoms associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. This also helps improve mental alertness and provides several other minerals and vitamins for the body.
Broccoli is one among the healthiest food that is essential to keep your brain on track. Thanks to broccoli for you bright, it is loaded with high levels of vitamin K and choline which help keep your memory sharp. It also provides vitamin C and is also possesses high fiber content which makes you full very quickly so that you could still feel full without those hazardous carbs. Being a fat-soluble vitamin it held responsible for forming sphingolipids. Sphingolipids are a type of fat that is densely packed in the brain cells. Adding a feather to broccoli’s cap it is also an amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that prevent the cells in the brain against any damage.
Pumpkin seeds are natural antioxidants that protect the body and the brain from any free radical damage. They, on the whole, are an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper. Every nutrient plays its part in providing brain health. Zinc helps with nerve signaling in the brain. The deficiency of zinc can be prominently found in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, depression and Parkinson’s. Magnesium plays a vital role in learning and memory enhancing conditions. When the level of magnesium in your brain goes low you are prone to develop many neurological conditions, which include migraines, depression, and epilepsy. Copper is a nerve signal controller of your brain.
Eggs don’t just provide a single nutrient for the brain but instead provide various. They provide nutrients such as vitamin B6 and B12, folate, and choline which are essential nutrients linked to brain health. Choline, though a micronutrient, is an important one that creates acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate your mood and memory. The simplest way to get choline into your system is by eating eggs. Healthy morning breakfast with an egg is the complete plate of wealth that nurtures you to better brain health for your entire day.
Food for thought
There are several foods that are specifically available to sharpen your brain. Foods like fruits and green leafy vegetables are natural antioxidants that play a silent game in making your brain healthier. Support your brain by providing it the necessary foods needed to keep it run sharp for a longer period of time.
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