Your brain is a complex organ that is responsible for regulating all bodily functions. It is also responsible for making you who you are, as it controls your thoughts, memories, and emotions, among other things. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to keep your brain functioning at its best.
If you would like to learn about the foods that can help keep your brain healthy, this is the blog for you! Here are eight of the best foods for brain health.
1. Fatty fish
Fatty, or oily, fish is one of the most beneficial foods for your brain. It is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help build membranes around brain cells. These cells are necessary for learning and memory.
A study published in 2017 found that individuals with higher levels of omega-3s had increased blood flow in their brain. Omega-3 levels were also linked to better cognition in that study.
Salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, herring, and sardines are all examples of fatty fish that are rich in omega-3s.
Blueberries contain antioxidants that are believed to be good for brain health. Antioxidants help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can contribute to neurodegenerative diseases.
The antioxidant compounds in berries have been found to improve communication between brain cells. Blueberries may also help improve memory and cognitive performance in older adults.
Other antioxidant-rich berries that are beneficial for brain health include blackberries, strawberries, mulberries, and blackcurrants.
3. Dark chocolate
Thanks to its cacao content, dark chocolate is another food that is rich in antioxidants. Cacao contains flavonoids, which are a group of antioxidant compounds that are good for brain health.
Studies suggest that flavonoids may improve memory and slow down age-related cognitive decline. Flavonoids are also believed to encourage neuron growth and stimulate blood flow in the brain according to one 2013 review.
It is worth noting that dark chocolate, specifically, is beneficial for brain health. Other types of chocolate, like milk chocolate or white chocolate, do not have the high cacao content that dark chocolate does. They also have higher dairy content and added sugar, which are not healthy for you.
4. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds contain both omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. These compounds have been linked to better brain health.
Nuts and seeds are also excellent sources of the antioxidant vitamin E. Vitamin E helps protect cells from oxidative stress caused by free radical damage, which is a phenomenon your brain may be exposed to as you age. As such, eating nuts and seeds with high levels of vitamin E can contribute to enhanced cognition and a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Some nuts and seeds that are rich in vitamin E include:
- Sunflower seeds
- Pine nuts
5. Whole grains
Another great source of vitamin E is whole grains. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that break down slower in your body than refined carbohydrates. Their sugars are gradually released, which can have a positive impact on brain health.
Brown rice, barley, quinoa, and oatmeal are all whole grain substitutions that you may want to consider using in place of simple carbs.
This popular yellow-hued spice has numerous brain health benefits. Many of these purported health benefits come from its main active ingredient, curcumin.
Curcumin is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. It has been linked to improved memory in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and studies have demonstrated that it can help clear amyloid plaques, which are a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin has also been found to boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is a growth hormone that helps brain cells grow. As such, it may help delay age-related cognitive decline.
To experience the brain-boosting benefits of curcumin, try regularly adding turmeric to your food and/or taking it in supplement form.
Eggs contain several nutrients that have brain-boosting benefits, such as choline, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
Choline is an essential nutrient that your body uses to create acetylcholine, a compound that functions as a neurotransmitter. Higher intakes of choline have been linked to improved mental function and memory.
B vitamins are also great for brain health. Studies have indicated that they may help slow the progression of cognitive decline in older adults.
If you regularly partake in a morning coffee, you will be happy to hear that it has benefits beyond boosting alertness. Two of the main components of coffee, caffeine and antioxidants, can help improve brain health.
A 2018 study found that caffeine may increase the brain’s capacity to process information. Antioxidants are believed to help support brain health as you get older. In fact, lifelong coffee consumption was linked to a reduced risk of cognitive decline, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease in one study.
It is best to consume your coffee before 1 PM. Even though coffee is good for brain health, it can also disrupt your sleep if you have it later in the day – and sleep is also something that is very important when it comes to the health of your brain.
There you have it – eight foods that can help keep your brain healthy! Cognitive health is something we’ve always been very passionate about at Revivele, and it was the driving force behind us starting this business. If you would like to learn more about what you can do to improve the health of your brain and body, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.