There’s a lot of talk nowadays about supplements that help with memory, focus and concentration. They are supposed to have all these wonderful benefits, and some may help give people a mental edge. That being said, the first place you should look to boost your brainpower is your diet.
If you’re eating pizza and hot dogs every day while taking some brain-boosting supplement, you are likely taking two steps backward for every one step forward in your quest for improved brain performance. The following are some foods you should start including in your diet that will give you a natural brain boost while helping to improve your prospects for long-term brain health.
1. Fatty Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids have long been known as being beneficial for brain health, and oily fish is one of the best sources of them. These particular fatty acids are used by your brain to build brain cells and nerve cells. They are also important to memory and the ability to learn. If you’re interested in your long-term cognitive health, omega-3 fatty acids also help keep your brain healthy in this regard. So, try to work meals including salmon, trout or sardines into your diet more often.
These berries are considered a superfood, in general, due to their high levels of antioxidants. They also have this reputation because of their anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body including the brain. At least one study shows that eating blueberries can improve short-term memory in older adults. Given how healthy they are, overall, it’s a no-brainer to add these berries to your diet to see what they might do for your mental faculties.
The caffeine in your daily cup or two of coffee may help jump-start your brain in the morning, but the antioxidants it contains are also healthy for your brain. It has been shown that regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of dementia. That’s not to say the increased alertness the caffeine gives you isn’t a huge health benefit as well. After all, how many people get into accidents every day because they doze off at the wheel?
Eggs got a bad rap for a number of years since their consumption was believed to result in increased cholesterol levels. Then it came out that eating eggs does not increase your blood cholesterol levels. Beyond this, eggs actually have powerful health benefits including, you guessed it, for your brain. There was a study where elderly subjects with moderate cognitive impairment were given high doses of vitamins B6 and B12 along with folic acid. This group showed less brain shrinkage over time than a placebo group. The egg yolk, in particular, is rich in these B vitamins as well as vitamins A, D, E and K.
This healthy vegetable is a particularly good source of vitamin K, which is known for improving cognitive function and brainpower. There are compounds that broccoli has in abundance, known as glucosinolates, that inhibit the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This is needed by our brain to keep it healthy and boost our memory.
Some people avoid nuts because they contain fat, but this is a mistake. We need some fats, and nuts are a healthier source of them than most fatty food we’d be eating. Walnuts, in particular, contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are good for the brain. Almonds have monounsaturated fats as well as vitamin E, which make them an excellent brain food.
7. Whole Grains
Every part of our body needs energy to function, and our brains are quite busy, so they need a lot of it! A regular flow of energy is supplied by glucose, and whole grains are a healthy food that our body breaks down into glucose. You need carbs to stay mentally alert and avoid brain fog, but the trick is to eat healthy whole grain carbohydrates that release their energy steadily.
Oranges are rich in vitamin C, which is helpful in reducing mental decline. Their high potency of antioxidants helps to fight the damage to cells caused by free radicals, and this includes damage to brain cells. If you’re not partial to oranges, you’ll get these benefits from most citrus fruits such as lemons, limes and grapefruits.
There are studies going back over 10 years on the potential positive effects of this yellow spice so common in Indian dishes in helping with Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin is the ingredient in turmeric that has the powerful brain health benefits that may include improved memory, easing of depression and helping with brain cell growth. For spicy, delicious food that boosts your brain health, check out some Indian recipes online.
If you’re concerned about boosting your mental performance here and now as well as your long-term brain health, you should start with your diet. There are, of course, other things to do as well. Regular exercise is good for you overall, and the improvement in blood flow it produces can help your mental abilities as well as exercise-related endorphin release boosting your mood. Start incorporating the above foods into your diet, and you’ll be feeling better and thinking clearer and happy in the knowledge that you’re keeping your mind strong as you grow older.