We all know that eating a healthy diet is essential for our physical health. It’s equally important for our brain’s health. The brain is a complex and powerful organic machine that requires nutrients to function properly, just like your heart, lungs, eyes or muscles.
The brain controls all thought, movement and sensation, while calculating and reacting with blistering speed. It is a storehouse of innumerable data. Plus, the brain regulates the functions of other body organs without taking a break.
For the brain to work continuously and remain in good condition, it relies on a steady supply of essential nutrients from our diet, blood sugar and oxygen.
Through a well-balanced diet, you can easily provide your brain with all the necessary nutrients to enjoy better memory, sharpened reflexes and a better attention span. Also, it will help ward off mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s, dementia and more.
There are many superfoods that you can easily include in your daily diet to strengthen your brain and enhance your mental performance.
Here are the top 10 superfoods for your brain.
Walnuts can boost thinking power and improve your memory. Walnuts have the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids among all nuts. Omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect on the brain as they boost the functioning of neurotransmitters, which in turn improves memory and cognitive skills.
Walnuts also improve the flow of oxygen and nutrients through blood vessels in the brain and fight inflammation, which plays a role in many debilitating and degenerative conditions of the brain and body. Plus, walnuts also contain memory-protective vitamin B6 and magnesium.
When you are looking for a healthy snack, munch on a handful of walnuts. They are a tasty snack as well as a subtle brain power booster.
2. Wild Salmon
The brain is made up of 70 percent fat and requires essential fatty acids (omega-3s) to function properly. Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fats and an excellent superfood to boost brain power.
More specifically, salmon is high in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. Plus, omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and support increased blood flow to the brain.
Try to eat only wild salmon, as farmed salmon contains high levels of mercury and PCBs that can have adverse effects on the brain.
3. Green Tea
The latest studies show that green tea helps the brain function properly. Researchers at the University of Basel concluded that green tea extract increases the brain’s electrical connectivity, which in turn enhances cognitive functions and helps treat dementia.
Plus, it has been found that those who drink green tea have better memory, focus, and concentration compared to those who do not drink tea. Also, people who drink tea each day are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
Drink two to three cups of freshly brewed green tea – hot or iced – to boost brain power.
You can keep your memory sharp, even during old age, by eating blueberries. The compounds in blueberries known as flavonoids play a key role in improving memory, learning and various other cognitive functions.
Flavonoids help protect the brain from free radicals, which can harm healthy tissue and are associated with memory decline. Plus, these flavonoids provide protection against age-related mental disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
To give your brain a boost, eat one-half cup of blueberries daily.
Being high in potassium, spinach is exceptionally good for the brain. Potassium helps maintain the electrical conductivity of the brain. This helps produce lightning-fast signals between neurons, which in turn improves thinking as well as recall capacity.
Packed with antioxidants, spinach also protects the brain cells from damage. This leafy green vegetable is also loaded with nutrients like folate, magnesium, and vitamins E and K that help prevent dementia.
To think more clearly and respond quickly, eat spinach as well as other green vegetables.
Scientists have discovered that a compound known as choline found in broccoli is extremely beneficial for the brain. Choline has the potential to spur the growth of new brain cells and neural connections that are essential for sharp and strong memory.
Studies have also found that choline deficiency can cause neural tube defects in newborns. Also, being an excellent source of vitamin K, broccoli enhances cognitive functioning and improves brainpower.
One cup of broccoli three times a week will boost your brain power.
Experts at the University of California-Los Angeles Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center found that turmeric can help keep your brain sharp. Turmeric is rich in curcumin, a compound that can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Its antioxidant properties also slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric can also protect your brain from inflammation and lower artery-clogging cholesterol levels that can reduce blood flow to your brain.
Sprinkle a little turmeric power in a glass of warm milk and drink it every day. Also, add turmeric in your cooking to keep your brain sharp for years.
You can’t ignore the memory-boosting power of tomatoes. Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant present in tomatoes, protects against free radical damage to cells that contributes to dementia, especially Alzheimer’s.
Plus, those who consume lycopene on a daily basis enjoy sharper memories compared to those who do not. Also,tomatoes can help protect your brain against strokes.
Be it tomato salad or mouth-watering tomato soup, do not forget to eat tomatoes daily to enjoy the full power of your brain.
9. Dark Chocolate
The list of foods that is good for the brain would be incomplete without dark chocolate. Antioxidant-rich dark chocolate is healthy for your whole body as well as your brain. The caffeine content in dark chocolate plays a key role in maintaining mental acuity.
Plus, dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids that help improve blood flow to the brain. A study done at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found that dark chocolate improves concentration, response time and recall.
So, add a little piece of dark chocolate to your daily diet plan to boost brain power. Along with dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate are also good for the brain.
10. Acorn Squash
Acorn squash, also known as winter squash, is another excellent superfood for your brain. Acorn squash is a rich source of folic acid.
According to a 2007 study published in The Lancet journal, folic acid helps improve cognitive functioning that normally is affected by aging. Folic acid plays a key role in increasing the transmission of information through nerve cells and boosts memory.
The folic acid along with vitamin B12 present in acorn squash is also reported to prevent nerve damage and brain shrinkage. A deficiency of folic acid can cause birth defects of the brain.
You can eat acorn squash baked or roasted to reap its brain-boosting benefits.
Along with these superfoods to boost brain power, you must drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water makes up 85 percent of the brain’s weight, and lack of water in the body can cause brain shrinkage and adversely affect concentration and memory.