Technology has set a fast pace for human life. Our trains are faster, our cellphones smarterand our lives busier. Daily life pushes our cognitive functions to the limit. And like any part of our body, the brain requires adequate nutrition to function effectively. A good diet encourages blood flow to the brain, preserves brain function and restores memory. What we choose to eat plays an essential role in determining the overall health of our brain.
Despite the advancements in medicine, prescriptions are of little help when the brain begins to lose its capabilities. Almost one third of the population over the age of 85 has Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. So it’s crucial to keep your brainnourished, like the rest of your body. Make sure you get as many nutrients as possible to optimize your focus, concentration, memory and intelligence.
Here is a list of 6 super foods that improve your brain health:
Finish your broccoli:
Broccoli is rich in vitamin K and choline, which enhance brain functioning and improve memory. People who often eat broccoli are better at memory tests. It's also high in lignans that benefit cognitive skills including reasoning, thinking, leaning and imagining.
Broccoli is packed with folic acid that can help preventAlzheimer’s disease. In addition, low levels of folic acid are linked to mood disorders and can lead to the development of depression. L-Methylfolate, a form of folic acid, facilitates the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain that are linked to mood regulation. Research recommends L-Methylfolate supplements to patients that do not respond well to anti-depressants.
Broccoli also contains a substance called sulforaphane. It is a chemical that improves the condition of the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain from harmful chemicals. Overall, the benefits of broccoli for the body and mind are tremendous. So finish your broccoli and stay sharp.
Even though, avocados are often criticized because of their high fat content, they are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. Avocados contain high levels of monounsaturated fats (good fats) that reduce bad cholesterol and increase the level of good cholesterol. This prevents hardening of arteries and reduces the risk of stroke. Moreover, avocados improve blood flow to vital organs.
Avocados are also favorable for people suffering from hypertension. As high blood pressure can cause a decline in cognitive functions and increases the chances of having a stroke. Avocados are rich in potassium which promotes lower blood pressure.
They also contain vitamin K which is essential for blood clotting and protein modification. Vitamin K can help protect against heart diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. For a relatively small fruit, avocados pack some serious nutrition and are a must-have to maintain a healthy brain function.
Add some blueberries:
Blueberries are great for making jams, syrups, and desserts, but they are also an excellent brain food. When it comes to protecting your brain, nothing quite matches the potency of blueberries. They are rich in antioxidants that protect the brain from stress and help to reduce the effect of dementia. When conducting research on different fruits, vegetablesand nuts, the US Department of Agriculture concluded that blueberries had the mostantioxidant capacity per serving.
Also, research has found that blueberries improve cognitive abilities in animals. They can also help with short term memory loss and other functions such as coordination and balance.Thenext time you want to sweeten up your breakfast, add some blueberries to your pancakes or blend them with yogurt and milk to make the perfect smoothie.
Side it with celery:
Celery is a low calorie vegetable that has great benefits for brain health. Scientifically known as apiumgraveolens, it is packed with antioxidants, vitamin K, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium and folate. Celery has been used as natural medicine for centuries.
It contains luteolin, which is a flavonoid that slows the aging process of brain cells. In a recent study, the addition of luteolinto the diet of mice showed improved brain functioning and slower cognitive decline. The anti-inflammatory properties of celery provide protection against cognitive and behavioral impairments linked with ageing.
Since celery has very little calories (approx. 16 calories per 100 grams) and is loaded with nutrients, it makes the perfect side dishfor when you’re trying to lose some pounds.
Have some tea:
Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. For many people, tea is an integral part of their morning ritual and is a great way to get your day started. Drinking tea has immediate effects on the brain, including increased alertness, attention and wakefulness.
For people that are calorie conscious, green tea is the perfect beverage. Not only does it provide the benefits of caffeine but it also contains the amino acid L-theanine. Due to the close resemblance of L-theanine with glutamate, it binds to the same cell receptors and blocks the effect of glutamate. This has a calming effect on the brain and helps relieve anxiety.
Along with the immediate effects of green tea on the brain, it has several benefits extending to old age. Studies have shown that green tea reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Green tea is also a great source of antioxidants that reduces the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer.
Fish and seafood:
Even though, fishing in itself isa relaxing and calming experience, having fish or seafood for dinner may have more benefits than you think. Oily fish such as trout, salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids that are known to improve brain functioning. Studies have shown that fatty acids can greatly improve memory and thwart the onset of dementia. Also, omega-3 fatty acids improve focus and are known to help children suffering from ADHD.
Fish is also rich in protein and vitamins whilst having a low fat content, hence, it provides for a complete, balanced meal. There are a lot of fish oil supplements available on the market, but having the real thing is probably your best and safest option.
ABOUT Audrey Throne
Audrey Throne is a mother and a professional blogger by choice. She has completed her masters in English literature from university of Birmingham. As a blogger she wrote quite a few posts on health, technology as well as management. Currently, she is associate with Brain Test Team.
Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.