7 Foods to Boost Brain Power
7 foods to boost brain power
Superfoods are great for improving health and fitness, but what about our brains? The good news is that there are a lot of foods that help you to “eat smart” in more ways than one. Without sufficient protein, carbohydrates, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, your brain is deprived of essential nutrients it needs, and you could experience memory loss and cognitive decline. A number of studies have linked specific nutrients (omega-3s, antioxidants, potassium, calcium, etc.) to cognitive and memory skills as well as mental health. For instance, a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry in 2010 showed an association between poor diet and the prevalence of depression and anxiety in women. It’s never too late to start eating smart, though. Here is a list of 7 foods you can add to your diet to support a healthy brain.
- Nuts and seeds: When you get a snack attack, reach for crunchy, chewy, yummy nuts and seeds, a good source of vitamin E, which studies have shown to support cognitive health, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which are the building blocks of the brain.
- Berries: Research shows that polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in berries, may improve memory capabilities and delay the onset of dementia by reducing inflammation and damage caused by toxins called free radicals.
- Fish: Naturally fatty fish such as salmon, halibut, tuna and sardines are a good source of vitamin D and omega-3s, which protect the brain against cognitive decline and memory loss.
- Spinach and kale: Filled with folate and vitamins, these nutrient-dense greens have been linked to lower odds of dementia later in life.
- Green tea: A much better alternative to sugar-laden sodas for boosting brain power, green tea contains antioxidants called catechins that help prevent cognitive impairment, as well theanine, shown to help lessen anxiety and promote a relaxed wakefulness by stimulating alpha brainwave activity.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage are rich in sulfur-containing compounds, which studies have shown to protect the brain from oxidative stress. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, which is vital to the brain, and have been linked to a reduced risk of stroke.
- Whole grains: Whole grains contain more protein and fiber than refined grains, helping keep blood sugar, energy and mental focus stable. Research has found a significant link between eating whole grains and reduced cognitive decline, with the benefits increasing over time.
BONUS: For those who have kids, these years are critical for brain development and what they eat can affect their focus and cognitive skills. In addition to the foods we listed above, you can add kid-friendly eggs (rich in protein, zinc, lutein and omega-3s), and full-fat Greek yogurt, which keeps brain cell membranes flexible, supports brain development, and can be mixed with berries or other fun, healthy foods to appeal to finicky appetites.