We know that our body needs certain vitamins and minerals to stay healthy but did you know that our brain is no different? The food we eat can have a massive impact on our brain health, affecting all of our cognitive functions, from memory and learning to creativity and decision making. If you want to boost your brain power and maintain healthy cognitive functioning, here are the best 5 foods to eat.
Oily fishOily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines are great for your brain because they contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help to build membranes around each cell in the body, including the brain cells and can even improve neural activity. A study has also highlighted how consuming a diet with high levels of omega-3 increases blood flow in the brain.
Dark chocolateThis one might surprise you but dark chocolate is good for the brain because it’s high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are especially important for brain health, as the brain is highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which contributes to age-related cognitive decline and brain diseases. Antioxidants help to negate oxidative stress within the body. Research has shown that dark chocolate, when it contains 70% organic cacao, helps to enhance neuroplasticity, neural synchrony, cognitive processing, learning, memory, recall, and mindfulness meditation.
Seeds and nutsSeeds and nuts are excellent for brain health because they contain both omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. However, they’re also fantastic sources of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a specific type of antioxidant which protects cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Research has shown that vitamin E has a positive effect on cognitive performance during ageing and can even help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
CoffeeOf course we all know that coffee is used by many of us as a way to boost mental alertness, focus and concentration. But beyond this, research suggests that caffeine may also increase the brain’s capacity for processing information. The researchers found that caffeine causes an increase in brain entropy, which refers to complex and variable brain activity. When entropy is high, the brain can process more information. And because coffee is also a source of antioxidants, long term coffee consumption may reduce risk of cognitive decline, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
AvocadoEating monounsaturated fats has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, a chronic illness strongly associated with cognitive decline. And avocados are a great source of healthy unsaturated fat. Other sources of healthful unsaturated fats include:
- almonds, cashews, and peanuts
- flaxseed and chia seeds
- soybean, sunflower, and canola oils
- walnuts and Brazil nuts