Your brain is the most essential organ of your body. It consists of millions of neurons and is in charge of all the body’s functions. Starting from the lungs breathing, and the heart beating, to the capacity to think, fall in love, behave, listen, see and much more.
That’s why it is a good idea to keep your brain in the highest possible operational capacity and to take care of it in the same way you take care of the rest of your body.
There are many natural ways to keep your brain healthy. Today, I chose to describe the foods that play the most significant role in the improvement of your mental tasks, such as memory and concentration.
- Fatty fish
Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines comes first to the list of foods favourable to the brain due to their high content in omega-3s and fatty acids, building blocks of the brain. A large part of the brain consists of fats necessary for the brain neurons to be built. Your brain uses omega-3s to create brain and nerve cells, and these fats are essential for learning and memory. They may slow age-related mental decline and help ward off Alzheimer’s disease and even depression. A study conducted in 2014 and published at the National Library of Medicine (National Center of Biotechnology Information) showed that persons eating fatty fish regularly have a better capacity to take decisions and increased memory capacity.
Tip: if you don’t eat fish 2-3 times per week, supplement with Omega 3.
If coffee is the highlight of your morning! So, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s good for you. Many studies have proved that caffeine and antioxidants in coffee help your brain, and more precisely, they keep your brain alert and boost concentration. Also, the regular intake of coffee may reduce the possibility for some mental diseases, such as Parkinson and Alzheimer.
Tip: Always remember to regulate these advantages with your bio-individuality and the eventual negative impact that coffee may have on your body, such as sleeping issues, dyspepsia or nervousness. In this case, I suggest you switch to green tea, which has similar properties to coffee, but it doesn’t have the countereffects. Green tea leaves, being rich in L-Theanine, promotes relaxation but not sleepiness. Therefore, green tea helps concentration, mental sharpness and brain health, and at the same time, it fights nervousness and stress.
Blueberries are seen as a miraculous food for youth and a protector of our health. They have a substantial antioxidant effect. The tremendous advantages of blueberries come from their high concentration in anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that facilitate the brain’s flow of information. Anthocyanins help in fighting oxidative stress and inflammation -the main causes of brain ageing. Even more, some studies have proved that blueberries delay the loss of short memory.
Tip: Eat them separately and don’t mix them with milk (in smoothies) since the proteins found in milk impede the absorption of antioxidant components.
Yes, again, curcumin! Curcumin has generated a lot of buzzes recently. This deep-yellow spice is a key ingredient in curry powder and has many benefits for the brain. It has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, meaning it can directly enter the brain and benefit the cells. It helps memory in people with Alzheimer’s, it eases depression, and it even helps brain cells grow.
Tip: Try cooking it with curry powder, or try adding turmeric to potato dishes to turn them golden or make turmeric tea or even add it in your coffee!
- Pumpkin seeds
It contains powerful antioxidants that protect the brain from free radical damage and oxidative stress. They’re also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc and copper. As such, they help protect against Alzheimer and Parkinson, depression, memory loss, and migraines and epilepsy.
Tip: most of the nuts have similar properties thanks to the brain-boosting nutrients they contain, including vitamin E, healthy fats and plant compounds. A large study found that women who ate nuts regularly over several years had a sharper memory than those who didn’t eat nuts. Remember to eat them raw and never processed!
You can get all the vitamin C you need in a day by eating one medium orange. Doing so is essential for brain health since vitamin C is a key factor in preventing mental decline. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off the free radicals that can damage brain cells and are attacking more powerfully our brain as we age.
Tip: Excellent amounts of vitamin C are also found in bed peppers and kiwis.
Eggs are a good source of several nutrients tied to brain health, including vitamins B6 and B12, folate and choline. More specifically, choline is well known for its priorities helping mental function and better memory. The problem is that we often don’t get enough choline in our diet. The recommended daily intake is 425 mg for women and 550 mg for men. A large egg contains approximately 113 mg of it.
Tip: other sources of choline is beef liver, cod, broccoli, cauliflower, pecans, bananas.
- Dark chocolate
I am leaving the best for the end! Dark chocolate and cocoa are some of the pleasant exceptions in the rule, saying that tasty foods are usually bad for our health. The truth is that dark chocolate is packed with a few brain-boosting compounds, including flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants. Flavonoids boost memory and help slow down age-related mental decline. Also, chocolate increases serotonin levels in the brain, which, in its turn, helps to improve our mood and create positive feelings.
Tip: always control the quantity of chocolate you consume since, although it is rich in nutrients, dark chocolate remains chocolate and contains sugar. Remember that the bigger the cacao content, the richer in flavonoids and the poorer in sugar.
Don’t also forget that apart from the above food and nutrients, our brain’s health must include other habits contributing to the brain’s health. Good sleep, water, regular exercise, reading and meditation should be our non-negotiables. Personal development with positive feelings, non-toxic persons and environment together with a life full of gratitude will help our brain stay younger for years ahead.