Your brain is a demanding little organ requiring more than 20 percent of your body’s daily energy needs or calories. For you to stay focused throughout the day or learn and remember things, your brain requires certain nutrients like Omega-3’s and antioxidants. Omega-3’s help to build and repair brain cells, and antioxidants protect cell’s against stress and inflammation.
This is why it is extremely important that you give it the right kinds of foods to support its functions. Let’s take a look at some foods that you should definitely include in your daily diet:
Many berries contain an antioxidant group called Flavanoids, which are known for reducing inflammation and oxidative stress (damage to your cells). Some types of these antioxidants are called catechins, and anthocyanins which studies show have a number of beneficial affects on the brain :
- Helps brain cells form new connections, which boost learning and memory
- protect against age-related neurodegenerative brain disease or decline
- Reduce inflammation throughout the body
- Helping to improve brain function
Berries that are high in antioxidants and can boost brain health:
2. Oily Fish
Oily fish are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid and are essential fatty acids, meaning our bodies cannot make them and we have to get them from the foods that we eat.
Omega-3’s are essential for proper brain function, nerve signaling and the structural support of your cells, specifically brains cells. In a recent study, omega-3’s fatty acids showed to have protective affects against Alzheimer’s disease. This suggest that we make sure to include omega-3 rich foods in our daily diets to help against neurodegenerative diseases.
Oily fish high in Omega-3’s:
If your dietary preference excludes meat, then you can get less bio-available forms of omega-3 fatty acids from nuts and seeds, like flax seeds and walnuts.
Although there have been a few studies blaming eggs for causing cancers, cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol, and probably even global warming (just kidding), it just doesn’t add up. Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients, and I’m not only talking about the egg whites. If you do opt to include eggs in your diet, go for pastured organic eggs and stay away from anything conventionally farmed.
Eggs are a B vitamin powerhouse and contain healthy doses of B6, B12 and Folate. There have been many studies that show the brain boosting, cognitive protecting affects of these vitamins. Eggs are also a great source of choline, which is an essential nutrient that supports brain development, nerve health, energy & metabolism and key neurotransmitter Acetylcholine.
Eat your eggs…the whole egg!
When it comes to a super food, avocados are definitely top of the list. These bad boys are packed with nutrients, and an absolute must in any healthy diet.
Here’s what you get in an avocado:
- Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value DV
- Folate: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
What some people may not know is that avocados are fruits, not vegetables. They are packed with fiber, have more potassium than a banana (per serving), and contain a wide range of minerals including manganese, magnesium and copper. All of which contribute to proper brain function. This study details the incredible brain boosting benefits of specific nutrients like potassium, B-vitamins, Vitamin E and others which are all jam packed into this little fruit.
Avocados can be enjoy in salads, as a side dish or simply on its on with a little sea salt and red pepper flakes!
5. Dark Chocolate
Now who can say no to chocolate?? And when I say chocolate, I don’t mean a candy bar or some kind of chocolate cake. It’s specifically dark chocolate which contains cocoa. Cocoa contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that protects cell against oxidative damage.
Our brains are very susceptible to oxidative stress, which can cause brain disease and cognitive decline.
Dark chocolate contains cocoa, also known as cacao. Cacao contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. According to 2013 review , cocoa flavonoids may help to stimulate blood flow to your brain, which can lead to neuron and blood vessel growth, improving memory and learning.
But, be sure to eat dark chocolate that is no less than 70% cocoa. Otherwise, you might be getting chocolate filled with sugar, additives and preservatives. I tend to stick to at least 85% just to be extra clean.
There any many nutritional components that are super essential for brain health and proper function. The list above is by no means conclusive of all the brain boosting foods that are out there. But, if you want to make sure that you are giving you brain and body the best chance to fight off disease and functionally optimally, you may want to consider adding some of the foods here into your daily diet regiment.