10 Brain-Healthy Foods
Try These Ingredients to Promote Brain Health
Memory loss is a leading concern across the nation. Research has shown that there are many important factors to monitor in maintaining healthy brain function. But did you know that certain foods have scientifically been found to have positive effects on our brains over time?
The next time you make a grocery run, be sure to add one or more of these brain foods to your list, so you’ll have them readily accessible in your home. Many of these items are great ingredients to include in your daily diet for a variety of health reasons!
Whether you like sunny side up, poached, or scrambled—eggs are a good source of several nutrients tied to brain health including vitamins B6 and B12, folate and choline. Folate deficiency is common in older adults with dementia, and studies show that folic acid can help minimize age-related mental decline.
Hey, if it’s good enough for Popeye the Sailor Man, it’s good for us too! Spinach has B vitamin folate that reduces levels of homocysteine, which is a compound that can be toxic to neurons.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut has been referred to as a “potential cognitive strengthener” in reference to Alzheimer’s disease, because of its ketones. Ketones are an organic compound that is quickly metabolized into energy. This energy source is good fuel for malfunction brain cells.
- Sweet Potato
Notorious for being on every holiday dinner table, sweet potatoes are a nutritious host of vitamins, antioxidant, as well as healthy carbohydrates. They also contain fiber, known to reduce the risk of diabetes, improve gut health and help you manage your weight—all of which are fantastic body results that will support your brain health.
This spice has certainly been trending in recent years for good reason. It’s a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that has been linked to benefitting memory, easing depression, and helping new brain cells grow.
Wild salmon is rich with astaxanthin, an anti-aging antioxidant that has been found to be 6,000 times stronger and more powerful than Vitamin C in properties. Salmon also has omega 3 fatty acids, which is essential for protecting neurons from injury, reducing cerebral inflammation and helping to produce neurotransmitters that quickly transfer information to our cells.
A favorite ingredient for many popular dishes, garlic is also considered a brain food. Researchers from the University of Missouri found a nutrient in garlic that has the ability to inhibit or reverse damage to the cells of our brains caused by daily environmental stress.
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that may delay brain aging and improve memory. Both stress and inflammation may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. Blueberries have been linked to helping reduce these risks.
- Dark Chocolate
Did you know that dark chocolate is delicious and nutritious? Flavonoids in chocolate gather in the areas of the brain that deal with memory and learning. In one study including over 900 people, participants who ate chocolate performed better in a series of mental tasks compared to folks that rarely ate it.
- Green Tea
As is the case with coffee, the caffeine in green tea boosts brain function to stimulate alertness, performance, memory and focus. However, green tea also has other components that make it a brain-healthy beverage. For example, L-theanine, an amino acid that can increase the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps reduce anxiety and makes you feel more relaxed.