The brain is the center of our bodies. It’s the body organ that keeps the other parts operative, and its wellness impacts our overall health. It controls even the most basic bodily functions, such as touch and movement. This is why it’s vital to maintain it at a good condition where it’s able to work optimally. The food we eat has a lot of impact on our health, including brain health. Foods that are good for our brains, and will also improve mental functions include:
Fatty fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Half of the fat that makes up the brain is omega-3 fats, which aid in building of brain and nerve cells. Fat makes up more than half of the brain, at 60%. Omega-3s are instrumental in hindering mental decline that happens with age, and even keep Alzheimer’s disease away. Research also show that people who consume fish regularly have more gray matter. This highly increases their capabilities in memorization, decision making and controlling emotions. Fatty fish include sardines, trouts and salmon.
Flavonoids, antioxidants and caffeine are some of the brain-boosting compounds found in dark chocolate. Flavonoid compounds are linked with enhanced memory, better learning and reduced age-related mental decline. People who eat dark chocolate more frequently have been found to do better in mental tasks than those who don’t. The belief that chocolate boosts moods is also a scientifically backed fact.
Coffee contains caffeine and antioxidants which are useful to the brain. As many of you coffee drinkers may already know, caffeine increases alertness. It causes this effect on the brain by blocking adenosine, a sleep hormone. This allows you to concentrate better mentally on tasks ahead of you. For some people, it may also lead to improved mood by prompting the release of feel-good neurotransmitters. Long term coffee drinkers also have lower risk of neurological ailments such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Making eggs a regular part of your diet can lead to improved cognitive function, including enhanced memory. This is because eggs provide you with choline, a micronutrient that helps create acetylcholine in the body, which in turn helps regulate memory and mood. Egg yolks are some of the most choline-rich sources.
Other nutrients found in eggs that are good for our brains include B vitamins B6 and B12 and folate. The B vitamins help suppress metal decline in old age. Enough folate intake also helps minimize this mental decline.
Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, which are plant compounds that contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some of these antioxidants accumulate in the brain and enhance communication between brain cells. They also lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases by preventing oxidative stress and inflammation. Regular consumption of blueberries will also result in better memory and prevent short-term memory loss.
In the same way that these foods are good for our brains, there are some that are not and should be avoided. Also note that methods of preparation will determine just how many brain health benefits you’ll reap from these foods. For example, boiled eggs, broiled or baked fish and taking your coffee without cream or excess sugar will work better for your brain.