Most of us would eat healthier to take care of our physical appearance which is a good thing but ever wondered if your mind is being fed well too?
Research has shown that there is a connection between what we eat and how efficient we are when doing important thinking and memory tasks . Your lifestyle and overall diet affects your brain. If you are not getting enough sleep and your diet is mostly consist of fast food then don’t be surprised if you are having difficulty in thinking.
The human brain is composed of almost 60% fat . That being said, your brain needs good fats to be able to function optimally and since your body can’t produce essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as Omega-3 fatty acids by itself, you can only get it from your diet. Other than good fats, your brain needs other nutrients as well to keep it strong and to avoid age-degenerating diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. So here are 12 of the best food for a healthy brain:
1. Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies
Adding more vegetables such as spinach, broccoli , cauliflower and other foods rich in vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene can prevent memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease . The flavonoids in spinach could help reduce plaque build-up in Alzheimer’s disease and increase your brain’s learning capacity too . Now you have another reason to load up on your daily greens and colourful fresh produce.
A vampire’s bane that’s good for your brain. Research has shown that dilly trisulfide, a compound found in garlic can help reduce tumor growth in patients with glioblastoma, the most deadly form of brain tumor . Garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties can improve your memory as well .
This fatty fruit might not have many fans because of its fat content but its high content of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids aids in protecting your brain’s nerve cells and strengthens your brain’s muscle strength too .
Whether it’s strawberries, blueberries or cranberries, these antioxidant powerhouse fruits are great brain food. Berries protect your brain cells from free radical damage and it can change the way your brain’s neurons communicate with each other. Changing the way your brain’s neurons communicate can prevent inflammation and also improve your brain’s movement control and function .
5. Whole Grains
Whole grains such as brown rice and oat bran have a lower Glycemic Index (GI) so your body tends to digest it slower, stabilizing your blood sugar levels which can fuel your brain more efficiently . It won’t cause a sudden spike in your blood glucose levels which can make you sleepy .
Almonds, walnuts and other kinds of nuts are a great snack when your brain needs the extra boost. Walnuts contain a high amount of antioxidants and omega-3 which can protect your brain from degeneration, in turn preventing Alzheimer’s . By just having about 1-2 handfuls of nuts daily, it can also satisfy your cravings and reduce your appetite because it’s rich in protein, fiber and monounsaturated fats .
7. Fatty Fish
Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and other fatty fishes are great source of healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help your brain functions such as memory, speaking ability and motor skills . It could also help with depression .
[Also Read: Is Fish Good For You or a Toxic Waste?]
8. Dark Chocolate
Only really dark chocolate (aim for those that have more than 70% cocoa) has the most healthy nutrients that your body needs. The higher the cocoa content, the higher amount of antioxidants, flavanols it contains . Flavanols can help increase blood flow to your brain and improve its cognitive function .
Curries can be good for our brain too. Turmeric which is usually used in curries contains an anti-inflammatory antioxidant, curcumin. Research has shown that curcumin helps to boost your memory and brain to produce new brain cells . You can check out our Brinjal Curry recipe.
Water, the elixir of life and also your brain! When you find it hard to concentrate at work, drink some water because it’ll help sharpen your mind . When you’re dehydrated your brain’s grey matter will shrink so you might have difficulty thinking .
[Also Read: To Drink Water Before or After Food?]
Don’t get your hopes up too soon because alcohol is only good in moderation regardless of whether it’s wine or beer (1 pint a day for women & 1-2 pints a day for men). Dark beers can help lower the LDL cholesterol in your body which can lower your risk of stroke . Daily moderate consumption of alcohol helps to increase your cells’ insulin sensitivity so your cells can lower its blood sugar level more effectively, which otherwise could have led to dementia .
Drinking 3-5 cuppa joes a day in the long run might keep dementia and Alzheimer’s away. Sure, the caffeine gets you buzzing but it’s the antioxidant content and other nutrients that coffee has that could help improve your brain’s cognitive function . Sugar-laden coffees are a no-go if you want to reap the health benefits of coffee so your best bet is black coffee. But if you’re having trouble transitioning to that, first try to reduce the amount of sugar then slowly try to omit the cream too.