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10 Brain Foods To Boost Your Brain Health and Function

Your nutritional choices certainly play a huge role in your overall health. It should be no surprise that how your organs and body parts perform has a lot to do with what you are eating. Not only this but there are certain foods that can even help you improve or maintain the health of your body parts, even your brain. They can significantly impact the health and structure of the brain. 

As an energy-sensitive organ, your brain uses 20 percent of the body’s calories, and hence it needs plenty of good fuel to perform all day long. To stay healthy and perform with its full capacity, your brain requires certain nutrients.

For example, Omega-3 fatty acids is known for building and repairing the brain cells, while antioxidants reduce inflammation and cellular stress that is linked with neurogenerative disorders and brain aging.  

Below we have created a list  of 10 every-day brain-boosting foods that may help you increase the function of your brain:

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are known for providing numerous health benefits to your body parts and especially your brain. Not just blueberries but any deeply colored berry that you may find is great for delivering anthocyanins, which are a group of plant compounds that contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 

The antioxidants present in blueberries actively act against oxidative stress and inflammation and these two conditions can specifically contribute to brain aging and neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

Some of the antioxidants present in the blueberries can accumulate in the brain and enhance the communication between the brain cells.

A review of a total of 11 studies has suggested that blueberries can increase brain function and improve memory and certain cognitive processes in children and older adults. 

How to include blueberry in your diet:

  1. You can sprinkle them on your breakfast cereal.
  2. Add it to your smoothie
  3. They can also be enjoyed as a simple snack.
  4. Blueberries can be added to your oatmeal or fruit salad.

2. Coffee

Picture of coffee

If your mornings are incomplete without coffee then you would be thrilled to hear that it is actually helping your brain. Coffee contains two main components- caffeine and antioxidants that support brain health. 

The caffeine present in coffee has various positive effects on the health of your brain, such as-

Sharpened Concentration- One study that was performed on participants completing a cognition test revealed that caffeine consumption can result in short-term improvement in alertness and attention. 

Improved Mood- By boosting some of the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters such as dopamine, coffee is known for improving your mood and making the mornings happier.

Increased Alertness- Caffeine also plays a key role in keeping you alert and awake by blocking chemical messengers that makes you feel sleepy, known as adenosine.

Studies have also suggested that the long-term use of coffee in your diet can result in un a reduced risk of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s’ because it is rich in antioxidants. The most effective of it was found in individuals consuming 3 to 4 cups daily. 

How to include coffee in your diet-

  1. Coffee can be consumed as a drink in many forms such as – black coffee, cold coffee, espresso, cappuccino, and many more.
  2. You can also sprinkle the coffee powder on your breakfast dishes such as oatmeal for an enhanced taste.
  3. If you are not a fan of drinking coffee then you can incorporate coffee into your diet with coffee-flavored food items such as ice creams, cake, chocolate, etc.

3. Fatty fish  or Oily Fish

Fatty fish always remain an important food item when talking about brain foods. Being a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, fish have a positive effect on your brain health and also significantly improve its day to day functions.

Fishes like sardines, tuna, herring, salmon, trout, etc are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and you can incorporate them into your diet to support your brain health and boost memory. 

As your brain is made up of 60% fat, half of the fat is comprised of omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain utilizes it to become stringers by building the brain and nerve cells and the omega-3 fatty acids help by improving learning and memory.

It also offers various additional benefits for your brain. For example, they can delay the age-related mental decline and offers defense against Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals who do not get a sufficient amount of omega-3s are at risk of suffering learning impairments and depression. 

Many research suggests that people who regularly eat fish are found to have more gray matter than those who don’t. 

Gray matter is an area in your brain where you can find most of the nerve cells that control the decision-making process, emotions, and memory of the brain. So in a nutshell, fishes are a great choice for you if you want to improve brain function.

 

4. Broccoli

Greens are nutrient dense

Broccoli is a highly nutrient vegetable packed with powerful plant compound which also includes antioxidants. As a rich source of vitamin-K, Broccoli delivers more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of the vitamin with only 160 grams or 1-cup. 

Vitamin-K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for forming sphingolipids. They are a type of fat that is presented in a higher amount in the brain cells. There are d\several studies that have revealed the connection of vitamin-K with improving memory and cognitive status in older adults.

Apart from being a rich source of Vitamin-k, broccoli also contains some antioxidants and inflammatory properties that are great for providing your brain protection from damages. 

How to include broccoli in your diet-

  1. Broccoli can be eaten as a whole by adding some olive oil, pepper, and salt after steaming or roasting.
  2. Broccoli can be added to a variety of food items such as salads, pasta, noodles, etc.
  3. You can also prepare slaw or soup from broccoli.

5. Nuts

Eating nuts is found to have a connection with a healthy heart and a healthy brain. Numerous researches and studies have suggested it is a great food item for people with heart issues. These studies have also revealed regular consumption of nuts helps you lower the risk of cognitive results in older adults. 

Another study was conducted in 2004, in which it was found that women who included nuts in their diet regularly for a few years, were found to have a sharper memory than those who did not. 

Nuts are abundant in several nutrients that are extremely healthy for our body such as healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamin E, etc. These nutrients are also great for your brain health and promote memory and concentration. 

The vitamin-E present in the nuts offers protection to the brain cells against free-radical damage and slows down the mental decline. There are various types of nuts available for your consumption and you can choose to include your favorite one in the diet.

However, while all nuts are great for your brain health, walnuts are specifically recommended for the same. They are a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids which play a huge role in supporting your brain health.

How to include nuts in your diet

  1. All types of nuts can be sprinkled on top of your salads, oatmeal, or other breakfast dishes.
  2. Nuts can also be eaten in raw form or after being roasted and sprinkled with salt and other seasonings.
  3. Nuts are actively combined with chocolate to produce chocolate bars.

6. Green Tea

Green Tea is known for its countless health properties but you will be surprised to know it also supports brain function and boosts memory as well. The role of green tea is found to improve alertness, focus, memory, and performance. There are several components present in it that make it a brain-healthy beverage.

For instance, L-theanine, which is an amino acid with an ability to cross the blood-brain barrier helps increase the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter that is great for making one feel relaxed and reducing anxiety.

It is also a compound that increases the frequency of alpha waves in the brain and includes the relaxing feel in your body without causing fatigue. By counteracting the stimulating effects of caffeine, L-theanine present in green tea helps one feel relaxed.

Apart from this, green tea is also rich in other brain-healthy compounds such as polyphenols and antioxidants that slow down the natural mental decline of the brain and delay or reduce the risk of diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

How to include green tea in your diet-

  1. Green tea is consumed as a beverage in many different forms, such as by adding lemon, honey, ginger, etc. However, the healthiest way to drink green tea is by boiling loose green tea leaves in water and consuming it without honey, sugar, or milk.  

7.  Turmeric

turmeric powder

Turmeric is a deep-yellow spice that has created a lot of buzz recently with its countless health benefits body, skin, and brain.

Turmeric contains an active ingredient named curcumin which is proven as a great substance for crossing the blood barrier which makes it easier to enter the brain and nourish the cells with its healthy properties. 

Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory compound and potent antioxidant. It is linked to supporting brain health with the following benefits:

It May help in boosting the memory

The active ingredient in turmeric is a great compound for boosting the health of your brain and improving memory even in patients with Alzheimer’s. Curcumin also helps you to get rid of the amyloid plaques that are a hallmark of the disease.

Helps in Easing Depression

With boosting the production of serotonin and dopamine, curcumin is known for improving your mood and also helps with the symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety and is also used with the standard treatments for people diagnosed with these disorders. 

Helps New Brain Cells to Grow

The production of neurotrophic factor, which is a brain-derived growth hormone is increased by curcumin. It is also known for a delating age-related decline, however, the research is still ongoing in this matter and there is probably more evidence needed to support this. 

While curcumin may be present in turmeric, the concentration is still less than recommended. Many doctors advise patients to use a more concentrated form to witness some visible improvements in their brain health. 

How to include turmeric in your diet-

  1. Turmeric is used as a spice in food items like curries, soups, gravy, etc.
  2. Turmeric can also be added to milk for making a turmeric latte
  3. You can also find some turmeric-infused teas

8. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great way to protect the brain and body from free-radical damage as it contains powerful antioxidants. Other minerals such as iron, copper, and magnesium are also found abundantly in pumpkin seeds which are considered very helpful for the health of your brain. 

Zinc: Zinc plays an important role in nerve signaling. The deficiency of zinc is linked to various neurological conditions including Parkinson’s disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s. 

Magnesium- Magnesium is an essential mineral for memory and learning. The deficiency of magnesium is often linked with several mental health disorders and neurological diseases such as depression, epilepsy, migraine, etc.

Copper- Copper is used by our brain to control nerve signals. And when there is a low level of copper present in your body then you are at a higher risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Iron- Iron is also an important mineral for the brain and when the levels of iron are out of whack, then you may have brain fog as well as impaired brain function. 

All these minerals are found abundantly in pumpkin seeds so consuming them would ensure that you are not facing deficiency of these minerals and hence keeping the health of your brain in check. 

How to include pumpkin seeds in your diet-

  1. Pumpkin seeds can be consumed in raw form or you can also roast them.
  2. You can also sprinkle them on your salads.
  3. Another way of eating pumpkin seeds is by soaking them in water overnight and eating them in the morning.

9. Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

The presence of flavonoids, antioxidants, and caffeine, makes dark chocolate and cocoa powder brain-boosting food items. Dark chocolates have 70% more cocoa content. You may not see these benefits with your regular milk chocolate as the amount of cocoa in it is between 10 to 50%. 

Flavonoids are a group of plant compounds with antioxidant power. When you consume chocolate these flavonoids get collected in the part of the brain to deal with memory and learning.

Many research has suggested that these compounds help one to enhance their memory and delay the signs of age-related mental decline. 

A study was conducted on over900  people who consumed chocolate more frequently than others and it was revealed that they perform better in a series of mental tasks that involved memory. 

The research also suggests that it is a legitimate mood booster which directly means that it enhances the production of dopamine and serotonin. 

How to include chocolate in your diet-

  1. Chocolate bars are the most common way of consuming chocolate.
  2. You can also add cocoa powder in hot milk or cold milk and drink it as a beverage.
  3. Several cakes and pastries also make use of cocoa powder. 
  4. Anything chocolate flavored is also a good mood booster for you.

10. Eggs

Eggs are very healthy for you for a variety of reasons, and it also supports your brain health to a great extent. With the presence of good nutrients such as Vitamin B6, B12, choline, and folate, eggs are known for slowing the progression of mental decline and boosting brain health. 

Choline, which is among the active component in the eggs is an important micronutrient consumed by your body to create a neurotransmitter named acetylcholine that helps the brain to regulate memory and mood. Studies have also suggested that choline is linked with better memory and mental function. 

As choline is found rarely in food items, people do not generally get enough of it in their diet. That is why eating eggs is a great way to ensure you are getting choline in your body. 

Moreover, eggs are also a rich source of vitamin B which is found to play a variety of roles in boosting brain health. Their consumption is also linked to slowing the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s in older adults. Deficiency of vitamin B is also linked to having depression. 

Final Thoughts

So these are all the food items that are known for their brain-boosting power and their consumption significantly helps you to promote the health of brain and brain functions effectively. The findings of numerous research have revealed their role in optimizing the power of our brain and making it work better and faster.

Not just these, but all these brain foods can also help you to delay the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s and make sure your brain stay healthy and happy for life.