You eat for your heart. You eat for your muscles check you probably even eat for your private parts. Your brain is kind of a big deal. As the control center of your body, it’s in charge of keeping your heart beating and lungs breathing and allowing you to move, feel and think. The foods you eat play a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration. Turns out an awful lot. While we’ve always known that what we eat affects our bodies and how we look, scientists are also learning more and more that what we eat takes a toll on our brains. In today’s day and age, everyone could use a little help staying sharp and being more productive. That’s why we’ve compiled the fifty best foods—from snacks to your favorite cut of meat—that will boost your memory, improve your motor skills and even help beat back depression.
Brain foods rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins and minerals provide energy and aid in protecting against brain diseases. Although there’s no single ‘brain food’ to protect against age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, thinking carefully about what you eat gives you the best chance of getting the nutrients you need for cognitive health and mood. Eating well is good for your mental as well as your physical health. But which foods are particularly important to keep your grey matter happy and healthy?
Food which is good for Brain
Dark or leafy greens contain high levels of folate and vitamin B12, which may protect the brain against dementia. High homocysteine is associated with low levels of folate and vitamins B6 and B12, leading researchers to speculate that getting more B vitamins may be protective and thus presents the perfect example of “brain food.” Bonus: spinach is one of the foods that will keep you young forever.
This fruit is one of the healthiest ones you can consume and one of my all-time favorites. They’re also rich in vitamin B and vitamin C, which aren’t stored in your body and need to be replenished daily as well as help improve cognitive function, especially both memory and concentration.
- Fatty fish:
Your brain uses omega-3s to build brain and nerve cells, and these fats are essential for learning and memory. Omega-3s play a role in sharpening memory and improving mood, as well as protecting your brain against decline.
Two main components in coffee caffeine and antioxidants — help your brain. Drinking coffee over the long term is also linked to a reduced risk of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- Whole grains:
Eating too few healthy carbs, like whole grains, may lead to brain fog and irritability. Opt for ‘brown’ wholegrain cereals, granary bread, rice and pasta. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from an adequate, steady supply of energy (in the form of glucose) in our blood to the brain. Whole grains include brown rice, barley, bulgur wheat, oatmeal, whole-grain bread and whole-grain pasta.
Eating more raisins is also a great way to keep your blood pressure down. These dried fruits are loaded with the element boron.
Beets seem to be an intimidating food for many people, even vegetable lovers. The natural nitrates in beets actually boost blood flow to the brain, helping with mental performance.
- Blue berries:
Blueberries are especially good at protecting our brains from degeneration and stress. Blueberries and other deeply colored berries deliver anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Get your daily dose of brain berries in an omega blueberry smoothie or in a healthy blueberry cobbler. They’re widely available, but you can also achieve the same effect with other dark red and purple fruits, like blackberries and veg, like red cabbage.
- Oily fish:
These fats are important for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and our general well-being. Although studies are at an early stage there is some suggestion that adequate amounts of omega-3 fats in your diet may help to relieve depression.The main sources of oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers.
Turmeric has generated a lot of buzz recently. This deep-yellow spice is a key ingredient in curry powder and has a number of benefits for the brain. It boosts serotonin and dopamine, which both improve mood.
Favour cooked tomatoes and enjoy with a little olive oil to optimise your body’s absorption and use. Other foods supplying this, and similar protective phyto-nutrients, include papaya, watermelon and pink grapefruit.
- Pumpkin seeds:
Pumpkin seeds contain powerful antioxidants that protect the body and brain from free radical damage. The research focuses mostly on these micronutrients, rather than pumpkin seeds themselves.
Sage has long had a reputation for improving memory and concentration. Although most studies focus on sage as an essential oil, it could be worth adding fresh sage to your diet too.
- Dark chocolates:
Dark chocolate contains cocoa, also known as cacao. Cacao contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. According to a 2013 review, they may encourage neuron and blood vessel growth in parts of the brain involved in memory and learning. They may also stimulate blood flow in the brain.
- Nuts and seeds:
The nuts and seeds with the highest amounts of vitamin E include: sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts. 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.
Coffee is also a source of antioxidants, which may support brain health as a person gets older. The caffeine in coffee blocks a substance in the brain called adenosine, which makes a person feel sleepy.
Taking vitamins B, C or E, beta carotene or magnesium may improve brain function if a person has a deficiency in any of them. If your diet is unbalanced for whatever reason, you may want to consider a multivitamin and mineral complex and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to help make up a few of the essentials. If a person does not have a deficiency, these supplements are unlikely to improve mental performance.