The right diet can help you to maintain a healthy weight range, get the nutrients you need for energy, and could even help to ward off disease. Did you know that your diet can also have a direct impact on brain health and overall cognitive function?
Major studies have proven that certain foods can have profound benefits on your memory, logic, and problem solving. If you’re looking for a safe and natural way to improve your brain function, then the following foods should be incorporated into your diet today.
1: Olive Oil
A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has long been promoted as a healthier alternative to vegetable oils and animal lard. Extra virgin olive oil that has been cold pressed is the most nutritious option.
Polyphenols present in extra virgin olive oil have been found to improve both memory and the ability to learn. Although there is still limited evidence, some of the compounds in olive oil are believed to be capable of fighting certain proteins that lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Olive oil should be consumed raw and uncooked. Olive oil is especially poor for high heat cooking as it begins to decompose. Try using it sprinkled on salads or as an ingredient in Mediterranean sauces.
Avocadoes are sometimes frowned upon due to high fat content, however, it’s important to understand that avocadoes contain monosaturated fats that are effective at promoting good skin health and maintaining blood sugar levels.
Avocadoes are rich in fiber, which makes them great for digestion, and their creamy consistency makes them perfect for incorporation into a number of recipes.
It’s the vitamin K and folate that make them essential for brain health. Memory may be improved when avocadoes are incorporated into your diet, and the folate and vitamin K can prevent blood clots that could lead to stroke.
3: Fresh or Snap Frozen Berries
Berries are amazing natural sources of vitamin c, fiber, and vitamin k. Gallic acid found in blueberries is particularly beneficial to brain health, as it helps to protect against degenerative disorders and may also help to reduce stress.
Berries are perfect for adding to summer salads and can also be used in low calorie desserts. They’re also perfect for smoothies and can be mixed with cruciferous vegetables for a vitamin and mineral boost that supports brain function. Keep in mind that berries are relatively high in sugar, so servings should be limited to the size of your palm, with no more than three servings per day.
Coffee can provide a short-term boost in awareness and mental acuity, but that’s not the only way that this simple drink can improve your brain function. Coffee beans are rich in antioxidants that can prevent the production of free radicals that cause cell damage. Your body should always be in a balanced state and coffee is one way that you can limit oxidation. Studies have shown that in moderate doses, caffeine can prevent depression.
However, a balance must be maintained, as excess coffee consumption (or consumption of other caffeinated drinks) could lead to anxiety and a loss of mental focus. 400mg of caffeine is the upper limit of recommended consumption, which is roughly four cups of coffee per day. If you are sensitive to caffeine, then try eliminating coffee after lunchtime, and limit your consumption to two cups per day.
5: Omega-3 Rich Fish
Fish like tuna and salmon are some of the best-known sources of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA). This fatty acid is known to help cognitive abilities by providing plasma membrane fluidity. While the consumption of fish won’t magically make you smarter, you could find that your memory improves, and you have more focus and therefore a higher ability to learn new concepts.
Research suggests that the risk of developing mood disorders and Alzheimer’s disease can be reduced with the regular consumption of omega-3 rich fish. Other sources of this fatty acid include kiwifruit, krill, flax seeds, and walnuts.
Turmeric is a popular curry spice used extensively in Indian cuisine. It is also used throughout central Asia and South East Asia and is increasingly used as a spice in western cuisine. Curcumin, the main chemical compound in Turmeric, can help to reduce inflammation in the body which could improve stomach and bowel conditions, and may reduce pain related to arthritis.
Curcumin has also been found to reduce cognitive decay related to Alzheimer’s disease, and it may also limit the progressive cognitive decay related to brain damage.
Incorporating this spice into your stews and curries is a simple healthy way to gain several benefits and promote good brain health.
A staple of healthy diets around the world, eggs have come under fire in recent years for their high cholesterol content. Although it is still debated whether cholesterol in food is directly responsible for cholesterol levels in the blood, there are some good arguments that could make you reconsider how many eggs you consume each week.
Choline, which is a major component of egg yolks, is an essential vitamin that is used to develop the brains of infants. Choline is important for children up to four years of age, because it helps to develop a healthy brain and may improve memory well into adulthood.
A choline deficiency in adulthood could reduce cognition, memory, and overall brain health. Numerous studies have shown that an egg a day will not increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, so now could be the perfect time to eat more eggs or reincorporate this excellent protein and choline source into your diet.
8: Bone Broth
Soup broth made from the bones of beef, pork, and chicken will help to increase your intake of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.
Phosphorus is particularly important for a healthy brain. It can help you to store and retain memories and may prevent degenerative brain disorders. Magnesium is another powerful component of bone broth, which can help to balance mood, prevent insomnia, reduce mental and emotional fatigue, and improve overall cognitive processing.
Adding bone broth to your diet could help you to reduce your reliance on laboratory developed multivitamin and mineral supplements.
Support a Healthy Brain with a Varied Diet
A varied diet will help you to gain the benefits of different foods that promote good brain health. Exercise should be combined with a healthy diet to achieve optimal physical and mental health. With any major lifestyle change, always consult your physician first, particularly if you are calorie limited, suffer from allergies, or have any other condition that requires a strict regulated diet.