The Best Brain Boosting Foods
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is vital for mental and physical well-being. What else could you include in your diet to enhance cognitive function and to protect your brain from the onset of age-related disorders in later life?
These brain-boosting foods have a wealth of benefits to keep your grey-matter healthy, whilst helping you maintain focus and concentration in your working life.
Salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers contain essential fatty acids that cannot be made by the body, which we must obtain through our diet. These fats are important for healthy brain function, the heart, the joints and our general well-being.
Eating oily fish could help prevent the onset of Dementia, Alzheimer’s and memory loss. A study by PubMed Central found that people who ate baked fish regularly actually had more grey matter in their brains. Grey matter contains most of the nerve cells that control decision making, memory and emotion. So eating oily, baked fish can literally grow your brain. It’s a no-brainer
Animal studies have shown that blueberries help improve memory and may even help improve communication between brain cells.
Blueberries and other dark-coloured berries deliver anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects.
And great news, they are now in supermarkets all year round, so there will be no shortage if you wish to include them as a delicious snack in your diet.
Yes it’s true Chocolate is good for you!
Dark chocolate is rich with a few brain-boosting compounds including flavanoids, caffeine and antioxidants.
Flavanoids gather in the areas of the brain that deal with learning and memory. Research has shown that these compounds may enhance memory and also help slow down age-related mental decline.
Chocolate is also a legitimate mood booster, according to research- but this could just be due to it’s delicious taste…
Pumpkin seeds are rich in Zinc which is crucial for nerve signalling which will help keep you sharp throughout the day.
Pumpkin seeds also contain Tryptophan, which is an amino acid important for the production of the good mood chemical serotonin.
If you’ve been struggling with sleep recently, pumpkin seeds contain Magnesium which contributes to normal sleep regulation, helping you get those precious 8 hours.
Your parents were right to force-feed you broccoli as a child, it is great for cognitive function.
It is a rich source of Vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.
Several studies by PubMed Central in older adults have linked a higher vitamin K intake to better memory.
Coffee is a firm-favourite productivity-boosting drink, as it contains caffeine which increases alertness. Caffeine blocks adenosine, a chemical messenger that makes you sleepy.
Coffee can also improve your mood, as it boosts ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters like serotonin.
Drinking coffee over the long term is also linked to a reduced risk of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, partly due to the high level of antioxidants it contains.
So yes you can enjoy coffee as part of a healthy, brain-boosting diet, but just don’t drink it late in the day as the negative effects associated with having a restless night will far outweigh its benefits.
Turmeric is a spice deep-yellow in colour. It is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound containing the active ingredient Curcumin.
Curcumin boosts a type of growth hormone that helps brain cells grow. This wonderful spice also boosts serotonin and dopamine levels which are happy brain chemicals and so boosts mood.
Research has also shown that Turmeric may also benefit memory in people with Alzheimer’s.
Like coffee, the caffeine in Green Tea boosts brain function.
Green Tea has been found to improve alertness, performance, memory and focus.
L-theanine, a component of Green Tea, increases the frequency of alpha waves in the brain, which helps you relax without making you feel tired. Magic.
Although diet plays a monumental part in our overall well-being, there are plenty of other things you can do to keep yourself healthy and your mind sharp including exercising regularly, sleeping properly and staying hydrated. Also have a balanced diet and don’t eat too much or too little in general. If you do feel distracted or have low mood have a think about your alcohol consumption too. A little can help you to relax and unwind but if you drink daily or find yourself waking up with heavy hangovers, you may want to curb your intake.
Lastly, why not reduce your stress levels through some mindfulness exercises to improve your overall mental state. Do some Yoga or practice mediation regularly, this combined with a few brain boosting foods will have you on great form in no time.