Tags: brain | foods | fish | fatty acids | omega-3 | vitamins | minerals

10 Best Foods for Your Brain

salmon, nuts, berries, other brain foods

By    |   Monday, 22 April 2024 05:41 PM EDT

You may have heard that you should eat fish because it’s a “brain food.” That's true. But it is just one of the best food options for boosting your brain power. Optimal brain health requires fatty acids found in abundance in fish, along with a constant supply of other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This balance of nutrients supports energy production in the brain, which is the command center of the body, and aids cellular repair and neurotransmitter synthesis, which boosts memory and cognitive function.

According to Health, it is the synergy of certain foods that provides the best environment for optimal brain function and protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Here are the top 10 brain foods:

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• Fatty fish. Choose salmon or mackerel to obtain excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish contains both EPA and DHA, two fatty acids found in cold-water fish that boost brain power and increase learning, memory, cognitive well-being, and blood flow. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids may also reduce the risk of dementia and delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Aim for two 8-ounce servings weekly.

• Leafy greens. Kale, spinach, and collard greens contain many brain-boosting nutrients including vitamin K, lutein, nitrate, and folate. The latest dietary guidelines recommend at least 2.5 cups of vegetables daily, and adding more leafy greens to your diet will help achieve that goal while supporting brain health.

• Eggs. Eggs contain choline, says Health, which is essential to brain development and is a precursor to acetylcholine, an important transmitter for cognitive function. Eggs also contain all nine amino acids that comprise an ideal protein source that the body can’t produce on its own. Protein may slow cognitive decline, according to research.

• Berries. Experts at Harvard Health say that the flavonoids in berries that give these fruit their hue help improve memory. A study by researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women who consumed two or more servings of blueberries and strawberries weekly delayed memory decline by up to two-and-a-half years.

• Walnuts. All nuts are excellent sources of protein and healthy fats, but walnuts may stand out as the best type to improve memory. Maybe that’s why they are shaped like a brain! A study from UCLA found that people who eat walnuts regularly had improved cognitive test scores. Walnuts are high in a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Diets rich in ALA and other fatty acids have been linked to lower blood pressure and cleaner arteries, so eating walnuts benefits both the brain and the heart.

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• Tea and coffee. The caffeine in your morning cup of coffee or tea may not only give you a head start in focus and concentration, it may also improve mental function and memory, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.  Green tea, which contains the amino acid L-theanine, has been found to enhance memory and improve cognitive function. It also helps reduce anxiety.

• Turmeric. According to Verywell Mind, this Indian spice contains a compound called curcumin, which has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit brain health and overall health. There is some research that found turmeric may stave off Alzheimer’s disease by clearing away beta-amyloid protein to prevent the formation of plaque in the brain. It also may protect brain health by preventing the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. Use turmeric in stir-fries, soups, and vegetable dishes.

• Dark chocolate. Another good reason to indulge in this treat is that the neuro-empowering compounds found in dark chocolate like caffeine, flavonoids, and other antioxidants help improve mood and gut microbial diversity, says Health. This may positively affect the gut-brain connection. The most beneficial brands contain 85% dark chocolate.

• Avocado. This antioxidant-rich fruit has powerful neuroprotective effects. Researchers have found an association between the bioactive ingredients in avocados and the prevention of various neurodegenerative diseases, says Health. Avocados also contain vitamin E which helps protect the brain from damage caused by oxidative stress. One medium avocado provides 30% of the recommended daily value of folate. B vitamins, including folate, are essential for brain health.

• Sage. A research review published in 2017 suggested sage contains compounds that may help cognitive and neurological function. The pungent spice might also aid in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Use sage on roasted meat, in soups or in teas, says Verywell Mind.

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

You may have heard that you should eat fish because it's a "brain food." That's true. But it is just one of the best food options for boosting your brain power. Optimal brain health requires fatty acids found in abundance in fish, along with a constant supply of other...
brain, foods, fish, fatty acids, omega-3, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, berries, walnuts, turmeric, tea, coffee, sage, avocado, dark chocolate
Monday, 22 April 2024 05:41 PM
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