Give Your Brain a Boost with These 6 Foods

There is a lot of interest in the health benefits of certain foods, and for good reason! We all are looking for ways to keep our bodies healthy, but what about our minds?

A healthy brain will help you remember things better and feel more alert. Here are 6 foods that are not only incredibly healthy for your body, but are also great for your mind!

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Fatty fish

It’s no surprise that fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, are good for you. They are a great source of protein, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3s have been shown to increase memory, help you focus better on your work, reduce inflammation, protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, improve blood flow, reduce blood pressure, and lower triglycerides.

There are many different types of fish you can choose from to reap these benefits; besides salmon and tuna, there are halibut, mackerel, trout (use rainbow or steelhead trout when available), anchovies, sardines, swordfish, tilapia…the list goes on!

If fresh fish isn’t available in your area or if you’d rather not purchase it fresh due to time constraints or because it’s expensive, frozen fish is a great option — it’s more affordable than fresh but still high quality. Ideally, try to avoid farm-raised fish because they feed they receive often contains chemicals that will not help your health.

Avocados

Avocado contains fibre, vitamin E and healthy fats. Studies have shown that the monounsaturated fat in avocados can help your body absorb antioxidants, which are compounds that can protect against oxidative damage and inflammation. These are important things to support brain health!

Avocados also have benefits for heart health, eye health and cholesterol levels. They may even help lower the risk of depression! Plus, they’re so tasty — especially with a salad or mashed on toast.

Nuts and seeds

Add a handful of nuts or seeds to your diet every day. The best choices are almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts and pumpkin/sunflower seeds.

You can add nuts and seeds to salad, sandwiches or grain dishes. Be sure to count them as a fat portion in your diet since they are high in calories.

Olive oil

We all know olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet and an amazing source of healthy fats, but did you know it’s also ideal for brain health?

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are critical for heart health. More importantly, olive oil contains vitamin E, which helps to protect against cognitive decline and may lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, olive oil contains large amounts of polyphenols that act as antioxidants.

Research has shown that regular consumption of these antioxidants may increase levels of BDNF and NGF in the brain. These hormones help to improve your memory and delay age-related mental decline.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and has been found to improve memory, which makes it a great addition to your diet. For your brain to function at its best, you must be eating foods that will help reduce inflammation and boost memory. Turmeric is a spice that can help do both of those things!

You probably recognize turmeric as the yellow spice commonly used in cooking. It’s often found in curry powder, but it won’t make your food spicy! You can also buy fresh turmeric root, which tastes similar to ginger root when grated into food or made into tea.

There are many ways you can add this bright yellow spice to your meals throughout the day, like sprinkling some on rice or roasted cauliflower before serving. If you want the biggest health benefit from eating turmeric, eat fresh instead of dried turmeric!

Leafy greens

Superfoods are a big buzzword in the food world, and there’s no doubt that leafy greens are some of the best you can get. Loaded with antioxidants, leafy greens are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, which are essential for a healthy brain. They’re also super high in fibre, which will help keep your digestive system running smoothly.

All this makes leafy greens the perfect antidote to brain fog. You read a lot about foods that improve your short-term memory or concentration, but these veggies aren’t just good for helping you remember where you put your keys five minutes ago: studies have shown that they can also help with decision-making and focus, as well as lowering blood pressure (a factor in cognitive decline).

This means that eating plenty of leafy greens (e.g. broccoli, kale, cabbage…) could be doing far more than just making sure your stomach is full; it could make sure your mind stays clear for the long term.

Thank you very much for reading, and I hope you start eating more of these great foods! For more interesting articles, feel free to follow me: Charles Calzia

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