There is evidence to suggest that the vitamins, phytonutrients, and anti-oxidants not only help in day to day functioning of the brain but help in future brain development, blocking those processes that lead to various kinds of dementia.
It is important to identify which foods contain these nutrients so you can power up your brain on a daily basis.
Some of the foods you can eat that contain nutrients you need for better brain health include the following:
Blueberries are perhaps one of the best foods you can eat for better brain health. They contain anti-oxidants that keep the brain from suffering the negative effects of oxidative stress and reduce the incidence of diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Blueberries improve motor skills and learning capacity and can be eaten fresh, freeze-dried, or frozen. The recommended amount of blueberries to eat each day is about one cup.
Also, strawberries, and acai berries are believed to slow age-related cognitive decline as they preserve the brain’s natural “housekeeper” mechanism that also helps eliminate toxic proteins that play a key role in age-related memory loss.
Salmon and other deep-water fish have loads of omega-3 essential fatty acids necessary for brain health. Salmon is easy to come by at any supermarket and can be cooked in a variety of ways. The omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory substances that protect the brain from inflammation that ultimately leads to dementia. For variety, you can also get your omega-3 fatty acids by eating herring or sardines. Try a 4-ounce serving eaten at least 2-3 times weekly.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in vitamin E, which leads to a reduction of age-related cognitive decline. Just 1 ounce of sunflower seeds contains 30% of your recommended daily intake.
The benefit of vitamin E for brain health is far more from food than supplements.
Good nuts and seeds to eat include an ounce a day of various food items, including flax seed, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, filberts, peanuts, cashews, sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds. You can also get your vitamin E in tahini, almond butter, or peanut butter. Be aware of the high salt content of many nuts and buy unsalted nuts if you can.
Dark Leafy Greens
Kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are also great sources of vitamin E, and just 1/2 cup of cooked spinach provides 25% of your daily intake requirements.
Dark greens also have folate, which is believed to lower levels of an amino acid called homocysteine in the blood, which plays a key role in the death of nerve cells in the brain.
Avocados are excellent for brain health. It is high in monounsaturated fat, which improves blood flow to the brain. They also lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for age-related cognitive decline. Because avocados are not low calorie, eat just a fourth or half of an avocado to a single daily meal.
This includes foods such as brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain breads. They lower the risk of heart disease and improve the blood flow to the brain. Wheat germ is also good for you because it contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
Beans are good because they regulate blood glucose levels. The brain uses glucose for fuel and requires a steady state of blood sugar—not the peaks and valleys of some foods. Just about any bean will regulate blood sugar levels but lentils and black beans are considered some of the best.
Pomegranates are high in anti-oxidants, which help fight oxygen free radicals in the brain. The brain is very sensitive to oxygen free radicals and needs the anti-oxidant properties of foods like pomegranate juice in order to prevent cellular damage. If you can’t find pomegranates, citrus fruits will also do. For better brain health, drink 2 ounces of pomegranate juice diluted with seltzer water or spring water.
Fresh Brewed Tea
Tea contains caffeine, which is actually good for the brain when taken in moderate doses. Caffeine can improve focus, mood, and memory. Tea is also high in anti-oxidants, particularly catechins, which maximize blood flow to the brain. The best tea to drink is freshly brewed tea from fresh leaves.
Dark chocolate is rich in anti-oxidants and contains caffeine, which can improve concentration and focus. Caffeine also improves endorphin production, which maximizes mood.
All it takes is a half to one ounce of dark chocolate per day for maximum benefit, moderation is key since chocolate is not a low calorie food.