Your brain is kind of a big deal. As the control center of your body, it’s in charge of keeping your heart beating and lungs breathing and allowing you to move, feel and think. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your brain in peak working condition. The foods you eat play a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration.
1. This type of fish includes salmon, trout and sardines, which are all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. About 60% of your brain is made of fat, and half of that fat is the omega-3 kind.For one thing, they may slow age-related mental decline and help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. On the flip side, not getting enough omega-3s is linked to learning impairments, as well as depression
2. Blueberries provide numerous health benefits, including some that are specifically for your brain. Blueberries and other deeply colored berries deliver anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Animal studies have shown that blueberries help improve memory and may even delay short-term memory loss.
3. Turmeric has generated a lot of buzz recently. This deep-yellow spice is a key ingredient in curry powder and has a number of benefits for the brain. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, meaning it can directly enter the brain and benefit the cells there and it is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
4. Broccoli is packed with powerful plant compounds, including antioxidants.
It’s also very high in vitamin K, delivering more than 100% of the Recommended Daily Intakein a one cup serving. Beyond vitamin K, broccoli contains a number of compounds that give it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may help protect the brain against damage.
- Pumpkin seeds contain powerful antioxidants that protect the body and brain from free radical damage. They’re also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc and copper.
- Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are packed with a few brain-boosting compounds, including flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants. Flavonoids are a group of antioxidant plant compounds. The flavonoids in chocolate gather in the areas of the brain that deal with learning and memory. Chocolate is also a legitimate mood booster, according to research.
- Research has shown that eating nuts can improve markers of heart health, and having a healthy heart is linked to having a healthy brain. A 2014 review showed that nuts can improve cognition and even help prevent neurodegenerative diseases. Also, another large study found that women who ate nuts regularly over the course of several years had a sharper memory, compared to those who didn’t eat nuts.
- Oranges can give you all the vitamin C you need in a day by eating one medium orange. Doing so is important for brain health, since vitamin C is a key factor in preventing mental decline. Eating sufficient amounts of vitamin C-rich foods can protect against age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2014 review article.
- Eggs are a good source of several nutrients tied to brain health, including vitamins B6 and B12, folate and choline . Choline is an important micronutrient that your body uses to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory.Two studies found that higher intakes of choline were linked to better memory and mental function.
- Green Tea has been found to improve alertness, performance, memory and focus. But green tea also has other components that make it a brain-healthy beverage. One of them is L-theanine, an amino acid that reduces anxiety and makes you feel more relaxed.
Many foods can help keep your brain healthy. Some foods, such as the fruits and vegetables in this list, as well as tea and coffee, have antioxidants that help protect your brain from damage. Others, such as nuts and eggs, contain nutrients that support memory and brain development. You can help support your brain health and boost your alertness, memory and mood by strategically including these foods in your diet.