Foods That Boost Your Cognitive Health
In this 3rd part of this series we’re talking brain power foods. Consider that our brains are (arguably) the most important organ in our body. They control everything we do, think, and feel.
Given the important role the brain plays in our lives, it’s no surprise that optimizing brain health is a top priority for many people. This incredibly complex organ of ours needs proper nourishment to operate at its full potential.
One way we can do this is by paying attention to the foods we eat.
Your Brain on Food
Did you know that your brain and your stomach are in constant communication? That’s right, the foods you eat can directly affect your brain and how it functions.
As mentioned, certain foods, such as those high in sugar and saturated fats, can leave you feeling sluggish and unfocused.
On the other hand, foods that are high in antioxidants, such as colorful fruits and veggies, can improve brain function and even decrease the risk of cognitive decline.
Unlocking the full potential of your brain might sound like a daunting or even an impossible task, but the key might be closer than you think.
The 5 Top brain power foods
Blueberries have become the star of the fruit world. Move over apples! Studies have shown that consuming a handful of blueberries can not only satisfy your sweet tooth but improve your memory and learning abilities.
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which protect the brain from oxidative stress, a type of damage that can lead to cognitive decline.
It’s true. These little berries pack a big punch!
Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to be able to remember where they put their keys, or ace that big exam with ease?
A few weeks ago I saw a post on Facebook or Instagram (or something like that) and I laughed and laughed. It said something like:
I went into another room and actually remembered why I went in there!
(It was the bathroom, but still…!)
So, next time you’re feeling forgetful or struggling to pay attention, grab a bowl of blueberries and get ready to become the ultimate studying machine.
Try adding a handful of blueberries to your breakfast bowl or smoothie for a delicious brain boost.
2. Fatty fish:
Fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain health. Omega-3s are crucial for brain function and can help with memory, mood, and cognitive function.
You have have heard about them, but do you really know what they do? Well, strap on your thinking caps because we’re about to feed our brains some serious knowledge.
Omega-3s are a type of fat that can be found in certain foods like fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. And boy, do they do some heavy lifting when it comes to our gray matter. They play a crucial role in things like memory, mood, and even cognitive function.
Research also suggests that consuming omega-3s can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Aim to consume fatty fish at least twice a week to reap the benefits.
Thank your lucky stars for omega-3s because they’re the real MVPs of brain nutrition.
3. Nuts and seeds:
Nuts and seeds are not only delicious but also provide numerous benefits for brain health. They contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the brain from damage and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Additionally, nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats and minerals that contribute to brain health. Some good options to include in your diet are almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
4. Leafy green vegetables are also brain power foods!
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli are a great source of brain-boosting nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, and folate.
Vitamins K, lutein, and folate are like a brain booster pack, providing the tools to help you think sharper, remember better, and process information faster.
Vitamin K helps you retain your memory by regulating calcium levels in your brain.
Lutein is like sunglasses for your brain, protecting it from harmful UV rays and oxidative stress.
Folate helps maintain the integrity of the myelin sheath, a crucial coating around neurons that enhances the speed of communication between brain cells.
So, next time you’re looking to give your brain a boost, reach for your leafy greens and add a little extra dose of these vitamins to your daily diet. Your brain will thank you by performing better than ever.
Each of these vital nutrients have been linked to cognitive function and may even help slow down age-related cognitive decline.
Add a few handfuls of leafy greens to your daily meals for a yummy and healthy brain boost.
5. Dark chocolate:
Saving the best for last, dark chocolate is a delicious treat that is also great for your brain.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can improve blood flow to the brain and may enhance cognitive function.
Aim for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa to reap the full benefits.
Think Brain Power Foods
So next time you reach for that candy bar, remember that your brain might not thank you for it later. Instead, go for a brain-boosting snack like blueberries or almonds. Your brain will thank you for that!
Taking care of your brain health is crucial for overall well-being. By incorporating these brain-boosting foods into your diet, you can support cognitive function and potentially reduce the risk of developing cognitive decline later in life.
Brain Drain Foods
Avoid, quit, or at least cut back on them…
It can be tough to resist the temptation of processed junk food and other culinary sins that offer instant gratification but leave our bodies and minds starving for nutrients.
Unfortunately, the consequences of a poor diet don’t stop at expanding waistlines and chronic diseases. Research suggests that a diet high in sugar, saturated fat, and refined carbohydrates can impair cognitive function, memory, and mood.
So, next time you reach for that bag of chips or candy bar, think twice about the not-so-sweet consequences for your brainpower.
Eating well doesn’t have to be boring or challenging, either. With so many delicious and healthy food options to choose from, supporting brain health can be both enjoyable and easy.
So, what do you say? Let’s eat brain power foods and reap the cognitive rewards!
Want to know more about how your brain works? Hopkins Medicine has the info here.
Check out the start of this continuing series here. You’ll also see what’s next in What You Eat Matters! (You’ll definitely want to protect this organ!)