Your brain is no exception. The brain is the body’s most powerful organ and is more complicated than a computer. The food you eat will affect your brain, so it’s important to aim for the right food. Here are some foods that will help increase your brainpower and cognition:
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best things you can feed your brain. Omega-3s help build membranes around the body’s cells, including the brain’s neurons. They also promote blood flow in the brain, which helps enhance cognition and other mental functions. You can get Omega-3s by eating fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. Additionally you can take Omega-3 supplements, which are available at reputable health food stores.
Berries contain flavonoids – antioxidants which promote brain health by fighting inflammation and promoting communication between brain cells. Multiple studies have found that eating berries will promote cognitive functions such as memory and concentration.
One study from University of Reading and the Peninsula Medical School instructed participants to supplement their diet with blueberries for three months. Researchers noticed that, just after a few weeks, the participants had significantly improved their spatial memory.
Another study, this time from Harvard, researched senior female nurses who ate modest servings of blueberries and strawberries each week. The researchers discovered that the berries helped delay age-related memory decline by over two years.
Much like fatty fish, nuts also contain hearty amounts of Omega-3s. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging showed that women who ate nuts over the course of several years had better memory and other cognitive functions when compared to those who didn’t eat nuts. In fact, women who ate at least five servings of nuts a week, prevented cognitive decline by two years when compared to those who didn’t eat nuts.
Nuts also contain another essential property – vitamin E. Vitamin E helps support the brain against oxidative stress, which occurs frequently in older age. Therefore, eating nuts is especially important for people when they get older. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds are all nutritious additions to any diet.
Avocados contain potassium, fiber, multiple vitamins, and unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat helps reduce blood pressure which, in turn, reduces the risk of heart problems and cognitive decline.
Eggs contain choline, an essential nutrient which benefits heart health and improves cognitive function, among other benefits. Egg yolks are among the best sources of choline along with fish, poultry, peanuts, and liver.
Eggs also contain several B vitamins. B12 helps regulate the brain’s blood sugar levels and improves mood. Folate, also known as folic acid or Vitamin B9, helps prevent memory loss. Seniors with dementia often have a folate deficiency.
Dark chocolate contains several flavonoids that help boost memory and stave off age-related memory decline. A 2016 study in Appetite examined the impact of dark chocolate on cognitive function. Researchers conducted crossover studies on over 900 participants, all of whom participated in The Main-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Over five years, participants monitored how much dark chocolate they ate and underwent various cognitive tests. Researchers discovered that those who ate dark chocolate performed better on cognitive tasks such as memory, spatial reasoning, and abstract thinking when compared to those who didn’t eat chocolate.
Broccoli contains glucosinolates, which, once broken down, help combat oxidative stress and diseases which may harm your brain. Broccoli also contains Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that fights off free radicals, and Vitamin K, which is also an antioxidant that helps improve memory.
Dark Leafy Greens
Kale, spinach, and Swiss chard all contain copious amounts of Vitamin E. Like the vitamins mentioned earlier, Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps defend the brain against damage. It also reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.