As we age our body ages along. It is therefore important to take care of your health as the years advance. The brain is the control center of the body and is in charge of keeping the heart beating and lungs breathing, and also keeps you fit to move, feel and think. The food we eat has a big impact on the health of our brains. Eating food, which boosts brain health, has a short term and a long term impact on the brain function.
Our brain requires nutrients to stay active and healthy, such as omega-3 fatty acids help build and repair brain cells, antioxidants reduce cellular inflammation and stress linked with brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders.
5 Superfoods To Boost Brain Health
Oily Fish: The Most Popular Superfood to Boost Brain Health(1)
Fish is a very good source of omega-3 fats, which help build membranes around each cell in the body. This helps to improve the structure of brain cells called neurons. Fish, such as salmon, trout, and sardines are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids(2) A study suggests that people with a good level of omega-3 fatty acids have increased blood flow to the brain (3). About 60 percent of the brain is made of fat(4) The brain uses omega 3s to build brain and nerve cells, which is essential for learning and memory(14)
People who have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids show learning impairment as well as depression(5) People eating baked or boiled fish regularly have more gray matter in their brains. Grey matter contains nerve cells, which control decision making power, memory and emotions.(15) All this makes fish is an excellent choice of superfood in terms of improving brain health.
Dark Chocolate: A Tasty Superfood to Boost Brain Health(1)
Dark chocolate contains cocoa, which is also known as cacao.(6) Cacao is a rich source of antioxidants, caffeine, and flavonoids(7,8) Antioxidants are really important for brain health, as the brain is actually very susceptible to oxidative stress, which contributes to age-related decline. A flavonoid is a group of antioxidant plant compound and researches say this compound enhances memory and also slows down age-related mental decline. Epicatechin a flavanol found in dark chocolate has been seen to enhance memory formation (9,10) Eating dark chocolate helps in giving a boost to memory and mood both.
Nuts and Seeds: Go Nuts for Better Brain Health! (1)
Nuts and seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and are known to improve heart health and having a healthy heart is linked with having a healthy brain function as shown in researches. The data in the researches show that females who consumed nuts and seeds daily had slightly higher educational attainment and tended to be more physically active. Nuts improve cognition and can also help with neurodegenerative diseases(12) As a person ages, the brain is exposed to oxidative stress.(13) Nuts and seeds are a rich source of vitamin E, which protects cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.(13) Research also found out that vitamin E improves cognition and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.(14) Sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts are the nuts and seeds with the highest amount of vitamin E. Nuts and seeds are thus known as the brain-boosting nutrients.
Coffee: Wake Up Your Brain With This Beverage! (1)
For entire coffee lovers who are often enlightened about the harmful effects of coffee by others, here is good news. Coffee has a lot of positive effects on the brain.(18) Coffee has two main components, caffeine and antioxidants. Caffeine keeps the brain alert. It blocks adenosine, a chemical messenger which makes you sleepy.(19) Along with boosting alertness, coffee also increases the capacity of processing information. The researches show that it increases entropy which refers to complex and variable brain activity. Higher the entropy, the more is the amount of information that can be processed by the brain. A study done on the regular coffee drinkers found out that those who drink one large coffee in the morning and small amount at regular interval throughout the day was more effective at tasks that required more concentration. The positive effects of coffee on the brain are many and include reducing the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.(20,21) The antioxidants present in coffee support brain health, as the person grows older.
Turmeric: An Ancient Superfood to Boost Brain Health.
Turmeric contains an active ingredient known as curcumin, which is well known for its treatment of various health conditions including cystic fibrosis, hemorrhoids, gastric ulcers, colon cancer and many more. Curcumin has been shown crossing the blood-brain barrier which means it can directly enter the brain and benefit its cells.(16) It has a potential role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. A study depicts that curcumin improved depression symptoms as much as antidepressants over six weeks.(17) It also boosts serotonin and dopamine, which improves mood. The strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric help brain health. Turmeric is also known to have reduced the symptoms of depression and Alzheimer’s disease.(22) Along with the above, there are various other foods, which keep the brain healthy. You can include them in your diet to improve brain health, alertness, memory and mood.