Research shows that the best brain healthy foods are the ones that protect your heart and develop your brain
It’s fairly easy to make your muscles grow, but can you make your brain grow? There aren’t necessarily ways to increase your brain size physically, but there are definitely ways to improve your overall brain functioning.
The best way to boost your brainpower is through your diet. Here is a list of 10 brain-healthy foods that will be sure to enhance your mind.
1. Flax Seeds
In Latin, the meaning of Flax Seeds is ‘very useful’ and that’s exactly what this food is. Not only does this seed help fight cancer and boost the immune system (among many other benefits), but it also has a significant impact on brain health.
Flax seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Specifically ALA. Studies have shown that deficiencies in ALA can cause slight cerebral dysfunctions. The omega 3 fatty acids in flax seeds also play a significant role in shaping the intellectual and visual capabilities of infants, which is why omega 3 is added to infant formula as well.
Avocados are full of monounsaturated fatty acids. A study published in 2012 found that monounsaturated fatty acids are able to protect astrocytes (supporting nerve cells) from damage. The folate found in avocado also helps the brain by preventing potential blood clots.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, in fact, they are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods you can find. The antioxidant properties of blueberries can help keep your brain healthy.
A study conducted by the USDA revealed that rats that consumed a mix of blueberries, spinach and strawberries showed improved short-term memory. Consuming blueberries also improves coordination.
Salmon and other oily fish contain high levels of DHA and EPA. When DHA and EPA levels decline in the body, there is a cognitive decline as well.
Studies show that low levels of these fatty acids result in increased chances of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, therefore consuming them helps prevent cognitive decline. Both of these fatty acids found in fish are in active form so they are easily usable by our body.
Spinach and other leafy green vegetables are great for your skin, bones, and also your brain! A study that evaluated 950 elderly patients revealed that leafy greens, like spinach, seem to have a protective effect on the brain, preventing it from common age-related damage.
Consuming just one portion of leafy green vegetables a day has been linked to lower levels of brain deterioration as aging occurs.
Eggs are rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid. Folic acid is able to prevent blood clots in the brain and it is also known for reducing homocysteine levels in the blood. High levels of homocysteine can cause brain damage, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that consuming B vitamins, specifically B12 and folic acid, can help prevent brain shrinkage.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that reduces free radical damage in the body and can also help reduce damage to the brain. Studies have successfully linked consuming lycopene with lower chances of Alzheimer’s disease mortality.
Almonds are another brain superfood that is rich in DHA. Low levels of DHA can cause dementia, so consuming DHA through almonds may prevent dementia from occurring. Almonds are also rich in vitamin E. Consuming vitamin E can improve memory and decrease cognitive decline.
9. Olive Oil
The polyphenols, or plant antioxidants, found in olive oil can really give your brain a boost of energy. Studies show that olive oil is able to reverse damage in the brain and in turn, significantly improve learning and memory skills.
10. Dark Chocolate
We really did save best for last. Finally, the last brain superfood of the day is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols. Flavanols are highly anti-oxidant and they also have anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming at least 70% dark chocolate has been linked to improved memory and improved blood flow to the brain.
From boosting your memory to improving your motor skills, these foods are all able to give your brain a power-up. As we grow older it becomes more and more important to help our brains maintain their functioning, and eating a healthy diet is a great start.
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