Did you know that some foods can lift your mood and prevent cognitive decline? These 10 brain foods could help you sharpen your memory and much more!
When we talk about food for the brain, you immediately think of omega-fatty acids. Fish is well known for being a brain booster, but salmon and seafood, in general, are not the only sources of omega-3, there are other several options to improve your cognitive skills and mood.
Our brain needs a constant supply of glucose, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to be able to function efficiently. The microbiome in your gut system is also important to maintain brain health due to the gut-brain connection. Omega-3s, probiotics, prebiotics, and polyphenols are great for your gut, and by extension, your brain. Food influences your genes, the process is called epigenetics, DNA can be influenced by certain antioxidants, vitamins b, choline and omega-3, but we are only beginning to understand this relation. But these foods have proved to improve memory, help with depression and prevent cognitive decline.
1. Oily Fish
Fish like tuna, salmon, trout sardines and mackerel are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are used to build brain and nerve cells, half the fat in our brains is made up of omega-3s –essential for learning and memory. Omega-3 also increases blood flow in the brain which can be directly linked to a sharper cognition, if you consume oily fish twice a week it can help reduce stress hormones.
2. Dark chocolate
Cacao is full of antioxidants that counteract the negative effects of oxidative stress, which is linked to general cognitive decline and brain diseases. The family of antioxidants in cacao are called flavonoids which may improve learning and memory. Science has long proven that chocolate is a mood-enhancer. Here are 5 other benefits of dark chocolate!
Tomatoes are not only the most versatile fruit I’ve ever known, but it also houses a potent antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene wards off free radicals associated with dementia and, particularly, Alzheimer's disease. Lycopene also protects the brain from inflammatory damage and helps brain cell survival and maintenance. Add some olive oil to fresh tomatoes increases the absorption of lycopene in your body.
The yolks are rich in omega-3 and phospholipids –paramount to the components and structure of brain cells. They are also one of the greatest sources of choline –a compound that regulates mood and memory. The lutein and zeaxanthin contained in eggs improve neural processing speed. Eggs lower the risk of cognitive loss and Alzheimer's disease by reducing levels of homocysteine in the blood, thanks to vitamins B6, B9, and B12 present in eggs.
5. Nuts and seeds
Rich in vitamin E, nuts and seeds protect our cells from free radical damages and they also slow down age-related mental decline. Walnuts are especially high in omega-3.
Soy and soy products such as tofu and soy milk are packed with polyphenol antioxidants that have proven to reduce the risk of dementia and age-related cognitive decline. Soy is also rich in essential amino acids and minerals such as magnesium and potassium. Also, fermented soy foods – which include miso, natto and tempeh – contain probiotics, which promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
Extremely rich in zinc, an important mineral for protein structure, brain cell growth and communication and the maintenance of the blood-brain barrier. If you are on a plant-based diet, hemp seeds are also rich in zinc.
Curcumin, an antioxidant compound in turmeric, anti-inflammatory and helps maintain a healthy blood-brain barrier. Curcumin also helps memory and thought formation and improves depression symptoms.
Caffeine wakes up your brain, fires up the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin that improve your mood. It can help you stay alert, but it should be consumed in moderation. A cup of coffee a day can reduce neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
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