We have all heard the saying that we are what we eat, and empirical evidence has continuously shown the positive or negative effects of the food that we put into our bodies. A healthy, well-balanced diet is considered essential for the protection and promotion of your mental and psychical health and wellbeing, but our WOE can also affect our brains and their capacity to function. Increasing memory and concentration, our top ten superfoods are filled with nutrients that will ensure that your grey matter is kept in tip-top condition.
Omega 3 ultimately helps to build and repair brain cells, and it has the potential to have an incredible impact on our brains. It is an essential fatty acid, which ensures the maintenance of brain function and facilitates communication between brain cells. Moreover, as we get older, omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce brain shrinkage and minimize the effects of brain aging. Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, are particularly rich in omega 3, but for vegans and vegetarians, plant-based omega 3 sources include linseed, chia seeds, and canola oil.
We are often told that eating chocolate is bad for us, but actually, dark chocolate is packed full of nutrients. Helping to boost energy levels naturally, dark chocolate is filled with flavonoids. This is a type of antioxidant that serves to stimulate blood flow to the brain. Evidence has even suggested that eating cacao can improve memory as well as boosting cognitive function. It has also been suggested that dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao can improve brain plasticity which is essential for learning. Plus, it also contains caffeine, which we know can boost our energy levels and enhance focus.
Similarly to dark chocolate, dark berries such as blueberries are packed with flavonoid antioxidants, which can help to boost your memory. They also contain high levels of anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds that provide the berries with their color and are thought to have anti-aging effects by reducing oxidative stress and working as an anti-inflammatory. With evidence to suggest that they can improve communication between brain cells, some studies have also shown that a diet that is rich in blueberries can reduce the effects of brain shrinkage, and possibly minimize the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Tomatoes are full of carotenoids that protect the fat levels in your brain, and ultimately, promote brain function. One of the most popular carotenoids in tomatoes is lycopene, which serves to defend again damage to cells and is extremely effective at combating oxidative stress. They also contain beta-carotene which is essential for heart health and ensuring healthy blood flow to the brain. Unlike most foods that are better for you raw, to optimize absorption, cook your tomatoes along with some healthy fat for the full nutritious effect.
This deep yellow spice that is often found in curries, turmeric has been used for diet and medicinal purposes in India for thousands of years. Turmeric is packed with curcumin, which is a potent antioxidant that is said to be a powerful anti-inflammatory. There is evidence to suggest that it can serve to enhance your memory, as well as naturally boosting serotonin and dopamine for improved mood overall. Turmeric is also said to help to clear mental fatigue, and some even claim that consuming it regularly can enhance cognitive ability.
For many of us, coffee is an essential part of the day, and this hot drink has been popular around the world for thousands of years. It is also full of antioxidants, which can significantly improve memory and concentration. Furthermore, caffeine is associated with an increase in brain entropy and it can disrupt adenosine, a cell chemical that can result in degeneration. If you are not a fan of coffee, green tea can also be super effective at boosting your memory and concertation. This hot beverage also contains L-theanine, a type of amino acid that may improve mental focus as well as the quality of your sleep.
Broccoli and other such cruciferous vegetables are great for keeping your brain in top working condition. This superfood is jam-packed full of goodness, including the fat-soluble vitamin K. This is essential for forming sphingolipids and can help to improve your memory. It also contains excellent levels of folic acid, which is reported to be effective at combatting the symptoms of depression. Broccoli also contains glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds which the body breaks down to provide isothiocyanates, and these are excellent at reducing oxidative stress. Furthermore, broccoli can help to enhance your ability to learn and can sharpen your problem-solving skills.
Pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack that features many micronutrients, including zinc, magnesium, and copper. All of which have the potential to give your brain the boost that it needs. These seeds also contain the essential fatty acids that our brains require to function, as well as being rich ion the antioxidant vitamin E. Pumpkin seeds are also a natural source of the amino acid tryptophan. When combined with the zinc, this is thought to promote a regular sleep pattern, which is essential for maintaining focus throughout the working day.
When it comes to avocados, millennials are certainly onto something and this superfood is truly one of the best out there. They are packed full of healthy monounsaturated fat which helps to ensure healthy blood flow as well as keeping the cell membrane in our brain flexible and protecting nerve cells. Moreover, avocados have high levels of vitamins B, C and E, and potassium, making them ideal for maintaining healthy blood pressure and improving blood flow to the brain; keeping those all-important cells well oxygenated. Whilst they certainly packed full of goodness, they are quite calorific and you may wish to add just a half an avocado to your daily diet.
Whether you prefer them scrambled, fried, poached, or served with a soft yolk and some toast soldiers, eggs are a nutrient-rich food that is ideal for enhancing your memory and levels of concentration. Studies have shown that people who eat eggs regularly, perform better on cognitive tests, indicating an ability to boost brainpower. This is predominantly due to egg yolks having high levels of choline, which is a necessary micronutrient that the body uses to help regulate mood and memory. Eggs are also a good source of various B vitamins including B6, B 12 and folic acid and there is also evidence to suggest that eating eggs regularly can help to reduce the rate of brain shrinkage.