10 Foods That Improve Brain Health
Power up your ability to concentrate and enhance your chances of success in life and work by eating right. Eating a well-balanced diet that consists of brain-boosting foods can help to build and repair brain cells. With the right foods, you can reduce cellular stress and inflammation, which are connected to brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Visit the best neurology doctor at the Century Medical and Dental Center to know what foods make your brain work faster and boost your alertness, memory, and mood. With the best nutrients included strategically in your diet, you have better chances of protecting your brain from damage and compliment brain health.
How to Improve Brain Function and Memory
Our brain is a highly active and intensive organ that utilizes about 20% of the body’s calories. It requires plenty of good quality fuel, full of nutrients to function well and maintain concentration throughout the day. What we eat has a significant effect on our mental health, physical fitness, and overall well-being.
Keeping your brain in top working condition is essential for a healthy heart and body. The brain acts as the control center of the body. It is in charge of keeping the heart beating normally and lungs functioning optimally so that you can move, feel and think actively.
The foods we eat play a significant role in keeping our brains strong. Eating the right stuff develops our efficiency to perform mental tasks, retain information, and concentrate on daily tasks.
Foods That Can Improve Brain Function
Eating the right foods that increase brain health can dramatically enhance your mental capabilities and decrease your risk of developing neurological problems later in life. Here are the 10 best brain-boosting foods that can support both short and long-term brain performances.
Blueberries aid in the development of brain cells with their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They help to reduce inflammation that in turn reduces the risk of brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Research shows antioxidants in berries include anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin, and quercetin that can support communication between brain cells.
Antioxidant compounds in blueberries assist the brain cells in forming new connections and stimulate learning and memory. Blueberries are also effective for delaying short-term memory loss as they contain a protective compound called anthocyanins.
Eggs are healthy brain food. They contain B vitamins, especially B6, B12, and folic acid that slow down cognitive decline and are known to reduce levels of a compound called homocysteine in the blood.
Increased homocysteine levels are related to a higher risk of stroke, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. Deficiencies in B vitamins have been found to induce depression and dementia.
Eggs are also rich in a nutrient called choline, which creates the neurotransmitters responsible for mood and memory. Regular use of eggs can also delay brain shrinkage.
3. Fatty Fish
60% of the human brain is composed of fats containing omega 3s, which makes it necessary to include fatty fish in your diet. Fish such as trout, salmon, and sardines are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids essential for producing healthy brain and nerve cells.
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health as they have amazing benefits. They reduce the risk for dementia, stroke and delay the onset of mental decline. They also play a significant role in enhancing memory, especially as we get older. The deficiency of omega 3s can lead to learning problems and depression.
Doctors recommend eating two servings of fish weekly to keep your brain and heart functioning optimally for longer.
By eating certain super-fruits, you can boost your brain health and look forward to getting all the essential nutrients in one go. Fruits such as oranges, bell peppers, guava, kiwi, tomatoes, and strawberries, contain high amounts of vitamin C. They help to prevent brain cell damage and support overall brain health. Research shows that vitamin C fights the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, depressive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia and prevents mental decline.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights off the free radicals that can damage brain cells. Having higher levels of vitamin C in the blood has been associated with improved focus, memory, attention, and decision-making speed.
5. Leafy greens
Leafy greens such as broccoli, collards, spinach, and kale contain essential nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene that are brain boosters. They contain key antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that promote memory and concentration.
Broccoli is a rich source of vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function and improves brainpower by forming healthy fats inside brain cells. Research shows that broccoli is high in compounds called glucosinolates. They slow the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is needed for better performance of the central nervous system and keeps the brain active and memory sharp. Low levels of acetylcholine are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Adding fresh leafy greens to your diet can help you make the most of these superfoods as they are called, due to their beneficial properties.
Eating nuts can improve heart health, and having a healthy heart is directly linked to a healthy brain. Nuts are rich in fats, plant compounds, antioxidants, and vitamin E that improve brain functioning. Vitamin E protects brain cells against free-radical damage to slow down cognitive impairment. All nuts are good, but walnuts, in particular, also contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids to enhance brainpower.
Regular intake of nuts can do wonders for cognition, better retention, and slower mental decline in the elderly. Research also shows that women who ate nuts over some time have a sharper memory as compared to those who do not eat nuts. Taking up to an ounce a day of nuts can get you all the benefits you need with a minimum of excess calories, fat, or sugar.
7. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in many micronutrients such as antioxidants, zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron that are important for brain function. Our brain needs zinc for nerve signaling and preventing neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and Parkinson’s disease, magnesium for learning and memory, and preventing neurological diseases like migraine, depression, and epilepsy.
Copper plays a significant role in controlling nerve signals and keeping away neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, while iron prevents brain fog and impairment. These essential nutrients protect the body and the brain from free radical damage that can harm the brain cells. As each of these nutrients is important for brain wellness, adding pumpkin seeds to your diet can help you reap the benefits of all these micronutrients at one time.
8. Tea and Coffee
Tea and coffee are popular beverages that boost brain function and improve alertness. Green tea also contains amino acid L-theanine that crosses the blood-brain barrier and enhances neurotransmitter activity, promoting brain activity. It is the reason tea and coffee are taken first thing in the morning, as they help you stay awake and active during the day.
Coffee is known for its concentration properties, and many people drink it to stay awake and remain focused. The caffeine in the coffee blocks a substance in the brain called adenosine that makes you feel sleepy. Not only it boosts alertness, but studies suggest that caffeine also increases the brain’s capacity to process information better. Caffeine increases brain entropy which refers to complex and variable brain activity. When entropy is higher, the brain can function more efficiently.
Due to their antioxidant properties, tea and coffee support brain wellbeing and prevent damage to the cells as you grow old. Lifelong use of tea and coffee can reduce the risk of cognitive decline, stroke, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. However, too much tea or coffee is not good and it may not suit everyone. They should be consumed carefully, and you must consult a doctor if you are not sure how much tea or coffee you should drink during the day.
A dark yellow spice commonly found in curry powder, turmeric is popular for its brain-powering properties. It is also a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that can pass through the blood-brain barrier to enter the brain directly and keep the cells growing and stay healthy. Curcumin, the active agent in turmeric is associated with boosting brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a type of growth hormone that encourages the growth of new brain cells. It is also very effective for delaying age-related mental problems.
Research reveals that turmeric is good for improving memory, reducing depression, and promoting the growth of new brain cells. Adding turmeric to your food or using a curcumin supplement on a doctor’s recommendation may help to achieve desired results and improve brain health.
10. Whole Grains
Whole grains are brain-healthy foods that improve concentration and focus by keeping up a steady supply of energy in the form of glucose in the blood. They have a low glycemic index (GI) which means they release their energy slowly in the bloodstream, keeping the brain alert and active throughout the day.
Whole grains include bread, pasta, barley, brown rice, oatmeal, and bulgur wheat that contain vitamin E, which protects and preserves healthy cells. By defending these cells, vitamin E helps to prevent neurodegeneration and enhance brain function.
Avoiding foods that can negatively impact brain health and functioning is as essential as including these brain-empowering foods in your diet. Limit or avoid alcohol intake, sodas, trans-fats, and too many carbs as they increase the risk of various medical conditions and disturb brain performance too.
Increasing the intake of brain-boosting foods in your diet may increase your mental sharpness and play a crucial role in your overall health. Schedule an appointment with an experienced and board-certified physician at the Century Medical and Dental Center to learn about foods that play a vital role in brain efficiency. The doctor will recommend the best natural foods to improve brain function and memory and help you enjoy a better quality of life as you age.