Your brain is the power hub of your system, carrying out every function within your body. The mind is responsible for keeping your lungs breathing, heart pumping, and enabling you to move, feel, and think. To ensure the health of our bodies, we should be attentive towards keeping our brains healthy.
The brain, an energy-intensive organ, consumes around 20 percent of the body’s calories. Thus, the food we eat does play an essential role in our brain’s health and well-being. By being careful of the foods we eat, we can control and maintain our brain’s performance.
Some foods are enriched with the nutrients and components that are known to help mental health. These are generally called ‘Brain Foods.’ Here we have shortlisted 10 of these foods that provide proper fuel to your brain and keep it healthy and powered up.
- Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and trout, are rich sources of omega-3, a founding unit of the brain. Around 60% of the brain is composed of fat, half of which is the omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are necessary for memory, learning, and to build nerve cells and brain. Having oily fish regularly in your diet provides several health benefits to the brain, including:
- Reduces age-related mental disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Improves memory
- Controls stress
- Produces serotonin, a good mood brain chemical
Blueberries are readily available fruits that are not only delicious but also very beneficial for mental health. They contain flavonoid antioxidants that help by decreasing inflammation and stress caused by free radicals. Research shows that blueberries, or any other dark-colored berries, have numerous positive effects on one’s mind, including:
- Enhances brain cells communication
- Reduces inflammation
- Boosts learning and memory
- Reduces age-related mental disorders
Having blueberries gives you antioxidants that help your brain by delaying its aging process and improving memory.
The two main elements in coffee are caffeine and antioxidants that help your brain in several ways. It is usually consumed to remain alert, but besides enhancing alertness, it may also improve the brain’s capability to process information. Coffee intake helps your brain activity in many ways, including:
- Improves your ability to concentrate and focus
- Improves moods and productivity
- Keeps your brain alert and efficient
The high amounts of antioxidants in coffee have also been linked with minimizing the risk of neurological diseases.
Broccoli is a power-packed vegetable that contains powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also quite rich in Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin essential for building brain cells. The useful compounds present in broccoli delivers several health benefits to the brain, including:
- It helps improve memory
- It enhanced learning abilities
- It promotes brain healing powers
- It may help in brain rebuilding
- It may sharpen problem-solving skills
Having broccoli may also help in reducing oxidative stress and minimize the risk of age-related mental disorders.
Avocados are filled with nutrition that makes them great for mental health. These are full of monounsaturated fats that improve healthy blood flow into the brain. They are also rich in potassium, folate, vitamin B, C, and E, which helps in reducing high blood pressure, thus minimizing the risk of cerebral decline. Different positive effects of avocados on the brain include:
- It may help boost your memory
- Lowers the risk of depression
- Help prevent age-related mental disorders.
Nuts are really good for the brain as they have omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. According to research, a high nut intake shows better brain health in older age. With vitamin E, they also protect from stress caused by free radicals. Having these plant-based healthful fats and protein gives you several benefits, including:
- Better cerebral functioning
- Enhance memory and learning
- Helps in improving your mood
- Increases the ability to concentrate
A handful of nuts daily helps you have a good mood, clarity, and the ability to concentrate.
Eggs are filled with vitamins and minerals that are essential for the functioning of the brain and nervous system. They are rich in Vitamin B6 and B12, folate, and choline. Choline is a chemical that’s necessary for keeping the brain cells healthy by giving support and strength to their membranes. Consequently, eating eggs will help your brain stay sharp and fit for a more extended period. It also has other positive effects like:
- Slowing down the mental decline in older people.
- Helps in depression
- Minimizes the risk of age-related mental disorders
- Dark Chocolate
Antioxidants, caffeine, and flavonoids are all brain-boosting compounds that are present in dark chocolate. The cocoa present in dark chocolate encourages neurons and blood vessel growth in the memory and learning parts of the brain. The antioxidants minimize cognitive decline and brain disorders by reducing oxidative stress. Eating dark chocolate benefits the brain by:
- Improves your mood
- Improves blood flow to the brain
- Improves learning, memory, and concentration
Seeds are suitable for the brain as they contain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Studies show that taking plant-based seeds, such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, in diet results in improved brain health in the elderly. Taking seeds in your diet gives you several benefits, including:
- Better brain functioning
- Improves memory and learning
- Helps in reducing stress
- Whole grains
Whole grains, such as rice, oats, and bread, are necessary to provide energy to the brain and increase blood flow. They are highly rich in B group vitamins and phytonutrients that are crucial for proper brain functioning. They also increase the brain’s ability to concentrate and focus by providing an adequate amount of energy.
The brain, just like all other parts in our body, also needs nutrients, minerals, and energy to function correctly. By being mindful and conscious of what we eat, we can take care of our brains’ health to help it take care of our bodies.