Are there foods that make you smarter? Let’s find out here!
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The Importance of Healthy Foods to Feed Your Brain
Why the Brain Needs Food
Can eating the right foods make you smarter? Researchers say yes!
In fact, recent studies prove that what you eat is one of the most powerful influences on day-to-day brain skills. Experts say the key is to fill your meals with essential nutrients to keep brain cells healthy and prevent inflammation that can cause damage to the brain.
Eating certain types of food can improve brain health, just like how diet can affect your overall health.
Children need nutrient-filled brain food in the first 1,000 days of their life. That’s because brain function develops during those crucial days.
Nerves in the brain develop, connect, and shape a person’s learning ability, sensory system, memory, cognitive function, and control of mood during this time.
The brain needs the following nutrients to function well:
- Vitamin A and D
- Vitamin B6 and B12
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids
What Affects Brain Function
In a world full of junk food and mass-produced meals, many people don’t really get the nutrients their brains need.
Not being able to eat brain-healthy foods may affect the health of brain cells. This may result in a decline in cognitive abilities, and the eventual development of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
If you want to keep your cognitive functions in the best condition, you need to eat nutrient-filled foods to feed your brain.
7 Foods for Brain Health
Here are seven of our favorite brain-healthy foods.
1. Fatty Fish
Add omega-3 rich fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines to your diet at least twice a week.
Here’s why fish is important: about 40% of the fatty acids in brain cell membranes are DHA, one of the main omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil.
Experts believe these fatty acids are necessary for transmitting signals between brain cells.
A 2016 study by JAMA concluded that regularly eating fish may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Although mercury levels may also increase with seafood consumption, the rate wasn’t high enough to cause alarm.
2. Seeds, Nuts, Oils, and Avocado
Not only is this group of foods tasty, but they also feature a heaping amount of an important antioxidant: vitamin E.
According to Prevention magazine, researchers found that people who consumed moderate amounts of vitamin E via food lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 67%.
Nuts like walnuts and almonds also contain omega-3 fatty acids and lean proteins. Your brain needs these nutrients to fortify brain cells.
Count yourself lucky if you are a fan of Thai or Indian cuisines, which feature curry. Animal studies have shown that curry’s active ingredient, curcumin, actually sweeps away Alzheimer’s-causing proteins in the brain.
A study by Germany’s Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine suggests turmeric, an ingredient in many curry dishes, helps the brain heal itself. In fact, it encourages the brain to produce more cells.
RELATED: Spicy Curry Soup with Chicken
It’s certainly not a chore to incorporate this treat into your healthy diet!
Indulge in dark chocolate, which contains flavonoids (antioxidants) that scientists link to brain health. Others studies have shown that chocolate can help to lower blood pressure as well.
According to a study, consumption of cocoa helps boost the brain’s memory function. That’s because cocoa possesses neuroprotective compounds that help keep your brain working properly.
Another study noted the presence of the flavanol epicatechin in cocoa, which improves both cognitive function and blood flow in the brain in older adults.
Aside from these, chocolate is known to boost the production of serotonin, the hormone responsible for easing anxiety and depression.
5. Kale, Spinach, and Broccoli
These leafy green vegetables contain antioxidants to counter the effects of free radicals not just in the brain, but also the rest of the body.
They are also a great source of folate, a nutrient known for keeping the brain healthy and in tip-top shape. In fact, a study by the American Association of Neurology found the bioactives and nutrients in these vegetables may help slow down cognitive decline.
What is cognitive decline? This is the age-related response to the decreased function of neurons in the brain, affecting its function.
Berries contain a lot of flavonoids like anthocyanins, which can overcome the blood-brain barrier, allowing certain areas of the brain concerned with learning and memory to function better.
A study on strawberries and blueberries may also delay the development of brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Keeping the brain hydrated is as important as feeding it with all kinds of antioxidants and flavonoids.
Brain cells need a balance of water and nutrients to function optimally. Deprive these cells of water and short term memory will be affected. Eventually, long-term memory recall is affected as well.
People also tend to lose focus when their brain is parched. A lack of proper hydration causes the brain to slowly lose the ability to do simple cognitive abilities like mental math and decision-making.
It’s important to keep your brain healthy and hydrated so it’s in optimal condition. Abusing its function eventually leads to cognitive decline and even age-related brain diseases.
Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy infographic for reference:
Malnourishment affects not just the body but also brain function. Feeding the brain with junk food won’t help it function any better.
Make sure you eat good foods for brain health. Also, your brain won’t be the only beneficiary of the nutritious food items listed above.
Eating green leafy vegetables or keeping yourself hydrated also benefits your overall health.
If you can’t fill your diet with power foods for the brain, complement it with a supplement to boost brain power, like Juvenon™ Cellular Health.
Now, check out this video to quickly recap what has been discussed above!
What other foods to feed your brain should you consume? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 5, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.