The foods we consume can have a large influence on the construction and health of our large organ in the head, the brain. Vital fatty acids improve your brain power and mental health; eating a proper diet can boost and support both short- and long-term brain function.
Our brain is an organ requiring good quality food to process all the millions of messages it receives.
It uses about 20% of the calories the body needs, hence it needs a lot of good food to keep it functioning properly all day.
It requires special nutrients to stay in good working condition. To help build and restore brain cells omega-3 fatty acids are the best for this job.
Antioxidants help reduce cell stress and inflammation, which studies have shown that can be linked to brain degeneration causing neurodegenerative illnesses like Alzheimer’s.
Listed below are 12 of the best brain foods:
Fish (fatty fish)
Omega-3 in fatty fish help to build membranes around every cell in the body as well as brain cells. Therefore, making the neurons better and stronger.
Studies have shown that people consuming high levels of omega- 3 fats than normal had increased brain blood flow. It was also recognized that there was better reasoning and the ability to think quicker.
The fish listed below contain higher levels of omega-3s like:
- Herring and
Cocoa the main component in dark chocolate contains flavonoids which are a type of antioxidant.
Researchers have found that the flavonoid component in chocolate may reverse the memory issues in snails. However, after a number of humans consumed dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cacao the researchers used imaging methods to find unusual activity in the brain and found that consuming the higher level of cacao may improve the brain’s flexibility to learn.
Similar to dark chocolate, many varieties of berries contain flavonoid antioxidants. Researchers suggest that current results may make berries good nutrition for the brain.
Also, antioxidants help the brain by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. The antioxidants in berries include anthocyanin, quercetin, caffeic acid, and catechin.
A study in 2015 found that the antioxidant compounds in berries have many positive effects on the brain, including:
- improving communication between brain cells
- reducing inflammation throughout the body
- increasing plasticity, which helps brain cells form new connections, boosting learning and memory
- reducing or delaying age-related neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline
Antioxidant-rich berries that can boost brain health include:
Nuts and seeds
Consuming more nuts and seeds may be good for the brain, as these foods contain the good omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
A study in 2015 found that higher overall nut intake was linked to better brain function in older age.
Nuts and seeds also have abundance 0f the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
As a person ages, their brain may be exposed to this form of oxidative stress, and vitamin E may, therefore, support brain health in older age.
Similar research in 2015 found that vitamin E may also contribute to improved cognition and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The nuts and seeds with the highest amounts of vitamin E include:
- sunflower seeds
Fully exploring vitamin E’s effects on the brain will require further research.
Eating whole grains is another way to take advantage of the properties of vitamin E.
Whole-grain foods include:
- brown rice
- bulgur wheat
- whole-grain bread
- whole-grain pasta
This one is a little different to the other foods as its a well-known attention aid — many consume it to stay in focus and helps to stay awake.
The caffeine in coffee blocks an element in the brain called adenosine, which makes a person feel sleepy.
There have been many studies done with coffee and in a 2018 study, it was found that apart from beyond boosting alertness, caffeine may also increase the brain’s capacity for processing information.
The researchers found that caffeine causes an increase in brain entropy, which refers to complex and variable brain activity. When entropy is high, the brain can process more information.
Coffee is also a good source of antioxidants, which may help to support brain health as a person gets older. One study has linked lifelong coffee consumption with reduced risk of:
- cognitive decline
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
One negative for caffeine is that it affects a person’s sleep and doctors do not recommend caffeine drinking for everyone.