There are so many benefits to eating the right foods. From lowering cholesterol to reducing the risks of heart disease, healthy eating helps your body run like a well-oiled machine. These good foods don’t just help your bones, muscles, and skin — they’re also great for your brain. Studies suggest that there are several nutrients that are good for the brain and have a positive impact on cognitive function. For a balanced lifestyle and optimal brain power, you should incorporate antioxidant-rich foods into your diet as much as possible, starting with these seven.
1. Oily fish
Fish is well known for containing omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fat for brain function. As we age, we tend to make less DHA, a possible contributing factor in the decrease of cognitive function. By baking or broiling fish once a week, a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that “fish is associated with larger gray matter volumes in brain areas responsible for memory and cognition in healthy elderly people.” In addition to keeping your brain active and building upon your cognitive foundation, this may be significant in lowering the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Avocados sometimes get a bad rap because they are high in fat and calories, but it’s important to remember they contain the good fat. Monounsaturated fats found in avocados promote healthy blood flow and help control diabetes. Avocados are full of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and folate, a vitamin crucial for brain health, cognitive function, and concentration.
Next time you want something a little different for breakfast, trying smearing some onto your toast or eat it as-is with a little salt and pepper.
Blueberries are a refreshing sweet summer treat, which is why they’re a favorite among kids and adults alike. Blueberries are chock-full of fiber, vitamin C, and manganese, and they’re easy to eat. They’re also so good for brain health. New research has linked flavonoids, found in blueberries, to improved cognitive function, memory, and reasoning skills. In older women, flavonoids were noted to delay memory decline. Berry-picking is also good physical exercise and a fun activity to do with your family!
Related Resource: How to Train Your Brain For a Lifetime
Nuts are some of best snacks around. They are delicious and really good for overall health. Walnuts have been noted to boost the brain’s antioxidant levels, while macadamia nuts contain high levels of oleic acid (found to lower blood levels and cholesterol) and palmitoleic acid, a known part of mylelin, which is a fatty substance surrounding and protecting nerve cells in the brain.
Because nuts are high in fat, remember they need to be consumed in moderation.
Curcumin is a chemical found in turmeric, a popular bright yellow spice used in curries. It’s been around for centuries, and has been consumed in many cultures for its medicinal importance. Research points to the root as having potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which has been shown to reduce memory deficits. Scientists are also in the very early stages of researching curcumin as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease because of its potential in destroying beta-amyloid plaques, a toxin that causes the irreparable loss of neurons in Alzheimer’s disease.
Enjoy turmeric on roasted vegetables, in tea, in soups, and even in smoothies.
These last two aren’t foods per say, but they are just as important to brain health. If you’ve ever felt a quick jolt from your morning cup of coffee, there’s a reason why: caffeine is a brain stimulant. Caffeine also blocks receptors for a chemical called adenosine. When adenosine is blocked, neurotransmitters can move freely throughout the brain, helping to improve mental performance.
Overdoing it on caffeine can have negative effects on your health, so make sure to drink it in moderation!
Your brain needs water. When dehydrated, we are more likely to lose concentration. Research has shown that dehydration causes brain shrinkage, and can impair short- and long-term memory, our ability to think clearly, and even our ability to perform simple math problems. It also degrades our overall mood. While the amount of water each person should consume each day varies based on height, weight, and sex, The Institute of Medicine recommends 13 cups for men and about 9 cups for women daily.
Incorporating these foods into your diet, along with a daily dose of Simply Smarter, will help set you up for a lifetime of feeling good mentally, emotionally, and physically. Visit our website and claim your free trial today!