Foods to Boost Brain Health
We all know how important the brain is, but do we all eat the correct foods to support it?
Your brain is a super hard-working organ, and continues to work away even when you’re asleep!
This vital organ looks after your breathing, heartbeat, senses and even your thoughts and movements.
Having the responsibility for all of these important jobs means that it needs a constant supply of fuel- in the form of food! This is where your diet becomes incredibly important, processed foods can have a damaging effect on the brain that can lead to mood disorders, such as depression.
Processed foods high in refined sugars worsen your body’s regulation of insulin, as well as promoting inflammation and oxidative stress. If the brain does not receive good quality nutrition from natural whole foods, it is unable to fight free radical damage, which ultimately has further consequences. Phytochemicals found in natural whole foods help to improve blood flow to the brain, and omega-3 fatty acids also assist in keeping your brain healthy. Following a diet lacking in important nutrients can worsen your brain health, cause poor concentration and depression as well as increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia in later life. Following a balanced diet and consuming a range of foods that provide various minerals and vitamins teamed with regular exercise is the best way to boost and protect your brain health.
Keep reading to find out more about our favourite superfoods to support this vital organ!
This fab fruit is loaded with antioxidants that help to keep your brain healthy. These antioxidants can protect the brain against signs of ageing, as they boost the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. These antioxidants also protect the brain against free radical damage, that may increase the risk of age-related memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A fab source of anthocyanins and other flavonoids, blueberries are a great way to boost memory function. Why not add some blueberries to your porridge in the morning to boost your brain health?
Oily fish such as fresh salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna are good additions to your diet to support your brain health. Their omega-3 fatty acid content is essential for brain function and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in later life. Oily fish also contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Low levels of DHA in the blood and brain have been linked to mental health problems such as depression and behavioural disorders. DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can be found in oily fish and may improve communication of messages between cells in your brain.
These little seeds are packed with heaps of health benefits that are super useful for your brain. Containing antioxidants that protect the brain from free radical damage, they also contain nutrients that are important for optimum brain health. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, which is essential for nerve signalling, also zinc deficiency has been linked to neurological conditions such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Pumpkin seeds are a fab source of magnesium, which may help with learning and memory. It is suggested that low levels of magnesium are linked to neurological diseases such as migraines and depression.
Loaded with phytochemicals, cherries are a great addition to your diet to support brain health. Cherries contain phytochemicals known as anthocyanins, which studies have suggested to improve memory and cognitive function.
Oats, barley and quinoa are a fab source of any B vitamins that help to reduce inflammation of the brain, which can potentially improve your memory. Whole grains offer a multitude of health benefits, unlike refined grains, which through the refining process, is stripped of nutritional benefits.
The phytochemical lycopene can be found in tomatoes, this powerful antioxidant can help to protect against free radical damage to cells which in later life can result in dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Loaded with phytochemicals and antioxidants, this veggie is a great way to keep your brain happy and healthy. It contains vitamin K, which is great for bone health and has been linked to better memory in older adults.
Spinach, kale and broccoli are amongst some of the leafy greens that provide nutrients that give your brain a helping hand. These veggies may protect against age-related memory loss and a decline in thinking skills. Containing brain-friendly nutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids, leafy greens slow mental decline due to ageing.
This super spice has received plenty of attention in the health world lately- and it’s easy to see why! Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin, which has been shown to directly enter the brain and benefit the cells there. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric may improve memory in people with Alzheimer’s, and help new brain cells to grow. Turmeric can also help ease depression, as it boosts dopamine and serotonin that are proven to improve your mood.
This superfood is great for promoting brain health due to its healthy fat content, which contributes to healthy blood flow. Healthy blood flow = healthy brain!
Chocoholics rejoice! Dark chocolate has made the list due to its main ingredient- cacao. Cacao contains phytochemicals called flavonoids that may help to improve blood flow to the brain, as well as small quantities of caffeine that can help you to stay alert and focused.