Did you know that the brain actually needs certain nutrients to function, too? Antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals and good fats not only provide energy, but also protect the brain from damage and memory loss. Let’s take a look at the top seven brain-boosting foods.
Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Antioxidants are some of the most important nutrients as they act against both oxidative stress and inflammation — conditions known to contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin — the active ingredient found in turmeric — has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, meaning it can directly enter the brain and benefit the cells there. Other brain benefits include memory improvement, the increase of serotonin and dopamine, and the delay of age-related mental decline.
Pumpkin seeds contain powerful antioxidants that protect the brain from free radicals (free radicals damage the growth, development and survival of cells in the body). These little green seeds also contain essential micronutrients such as zinc, magnesium and copper, all of which are great for brain health.
When people talk about brain foods, walnuts are often at the top of the list. Walnuts contain brain-boosting nutrients, such as vitamin E, healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and plant compounds, known to protect the brain.
Organic eggs are a good source of a variety of nutrients known to boost brain health, including vitamins B6 and B12, folate and choline. Choline is an important micronutrient that the body uses to create a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory. Studies have shown that higher intakes of choline were linked to better memory and mental functions.
Matcha green tea has been found to improve alertness, memory and focus. A micronutrient found in the powder matcha, which is known as polyphenol, can reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and protect the body against oxidative stress — an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body.
Oily fish are another good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Previous studies have shown that people with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have increased blood flow in the brain.