How to Feed a Healthy Brain
There are many factors that can affect the way our brains function: the aging process, hormonal deficiencies, metabolic diseases, even lack of sleep. These can cause brain fog, slower memory recall, and those moments of "Now what was I just doing?"
The brain also needs protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Do you think what you eat doesn't affect how your brain performs? It's time to think again because your diet can affect many brain processes.
Take a look at these powerful and positive brain foods:
Avocado is rich in Vitamin E which can slow cognitive decline in our aging populations. It contains mono-saturated fats which assist in the absorption of fat-soluable vitamins in leafy greens like spinach, kale...
Berries contain high levels of antioxidants, which
protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. Berries can change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition. Eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes.
Celery contains a flavonoid antioxidant, Luteolin, which protects the brain from inflammation, cognitive aging and neurodegenerative disease. It can enhance memory, learning and spatial awareness. Luteolin can also be found in peppers, parsley, artichokes, sage, radicchio...
Cacao has fabulous antioxidant effects. Cacao beans are packed with phenolic phytochemicals and flavonoids, which protect your cells against damage from free radicals. Oxidative damage can result in premature aging and many other modern health conditions. It boosts your mood and cognitive performance. Epicatechin, the main flavonoid in cacao, can improve cognition, preserve cognitive abilities during aging, and can lift your mood. Cacao lowers blood pressure. Recent studies found that flavanols lower blood pressure and increase blood vessel flexibility. It can protect your heart. Researchers found that flavanols and procyani
dins from cacao increased antioxidant capacity in the blood plasma and reduced platelet reactivity, resulting in a healthier heart. Cacao also regulates insulin levels. Epicatechin activates key proteins and helps regulate glucose production, even among diabetics.
Eggs are loaded with the B-Vitamin Choline which can enhance memory and cognition. Choline comes from phosphatidylcholine which is a key component of cell membranes, especially brain cells. Beef, fish, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and asparagus are other good sources.
Nutritional Yeast is high in Folate which is a B Vitamin said to aid healthy fetal brain development and cognitive health. Deficiencies can lead to neurological disorders like depression, cognitive decline and dementia. Nutritional Yeast is also a great source of Vitamins B6 and B12, both of which contribute to brain health and memory.
Rosemary contains a phytochemical, Carnosic acid, which enhances learning, spatial memory, reduces oxidative stress and prevents neuron damage. Studies have suggested that it can protect against Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Carnosic acid is also found in Sage.
Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fats, which are linked to reduced age-related cognitive decline, protection against Alzheimer's and improved cognition and mood. If you are not a fish eater, eating walnuts, flax and chia are high in alpha-linolenic acid which is a fatty acid that can be converted in the body to Omega-3 fats.
Spinach contains Lutein, an antioxidant which protects the brain from free radical damage and inflammation. It's been shown that people with mild cognitive impairment also have reduced lutein. Boosting lutein levels can enhance learning and memory. Other sources of lutein are kale, chard, collards and egg yolks.
Turmeric contains the antioxidant Curcurmin which may prevent plaque formation and build-up which is linked to Alzheimer's. Studies have shown that curcurmin can also protect against cognitive decline and reduce impairment with traumatic brain injuries, and it may also stimulate the production of new brain cells.
Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria or "probiotics" which keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy. Since 90% of the body's serotonin is made in the gut, it's crucial to keep the gut healthy. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter which regulates mood and behavior. Taking a probiotic supplement may improve a person's mental outlook and lower stress and anxiety levels.
Adding these foods to your diet is a win-win for brain health and function.