The brain can be a very demanding muscle and giving it what it needs will pay massive dividends to the mental health of both you and your family. A sharp, focused brain with clarity of thought will make you more productive, produce higher quality results while saving you both time and energy. If you have a difficult decision to make about your finances, relationships or future then why not start off with your brain functioning in top gear? It may be that you just want to stay sharp-witted, improve memory or stave off mental decline. All you need to do is make some changes to your weekly shopping list and soon you will start to think more clearly!
Studies have discovered that berries can help fight major conditions such as heart disease, cancer and infections. In particular, blueberries, strawberries and acai berries can help protect the brain; preserving memory and other mental faculties. Dr. Poulose, a researcher from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA-ARS) stated: “The good news is that natural compounds called polyphenolics found in fruits, vegetables and nuts have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that may protect against age-associated decline.”
The risk of dementia can be cut where coffee blocks the damage that cholesterol can inflict on the body. The 2008 report from the BBC stated that coffee can lead to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Jonathan Geiger from the University of North Dakota says, “Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.” Perhaps that daily cup of coffee could be having more long term benefits that you thought!
Dr Byrne from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School states that: “There are certain ‘brain foods’ that seem to have a benefit on the brain. New research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in salmon and other fish, may build the brain’s gray matter”.
Eggs are a good source of choline, which has been found to be vital for healthy cells, liver and brain. In fact choline not only helps improve brain function but can also help with memory retention. With many people lacking adequate amounts of choline in their diets it seems like eggs are a great, accessible source.
5. Flax seeds
Increasing evidence supports the notion of increasing the amount of omega-3 healthy fats in our diets. Omega-3 can be found in fish oils and flax seed oil. It has been reported that these Omega-3 healthy fats can be good for your brain and overall mood.
Steven Pratt, MD, and author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life states that avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health. Avocado is a fatty fruit but this is a monounsaturated fat which can actually contribute to healthy blood flow.
7. Spinach & Green leafy vegetables
The journal of American Heart Association found that there is a clear link between a high folate diet and reduced risk of strokes. In fact, spinach is high in folate and a great natural source. Some neurologists have recommended eating organic spinach 3+ times a week as a brain tonic!
8. Walnuts & mixed nuts
Walnuts have a high concentration of DHA, which is a type of Omega 3 fatty acid shown to improve brain performance in adults while helping stave off cognitive decline. One study has even suggested that mothers who get enough DHA in their diets have smarter children.
9. Dark chocolate
So, what makes dark chocolate such a great brain food? The answer is found in the flavonoids that it contains. The cocoa, high in flavonoids, has been found to help keep your heart and brain healthy. In fact, the Salk Institute has found initial evidence that eating dark chocolate can help improve brain blood flow which in turn can help improve memory.
10. Acai Berries
Like blueberries, acai berries contain a compound called polyphenol that can trigger the brain to clean and recycle toxic proteins that can lead to memory loss and mental decline. Dr Shibu Poulose, from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Ageing, stated: “In aging, microglia fail to do their work, and debris builds up within the brain. This research has shown that the polyphenolics in berries have a beneficial effect. They have been seen to restore the brains normal housekeeping function.”
Tell us about any other great brain foods that you eat to keep your cognitive sharpness at its peak. Also, why not read the following books to understand more about how some of these super foods can help keep your mind and body healthy into old age: