Do you ever feel like your brain needs a boost to make it through the day? Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think to do just that — there are several foods that work with your body and benefit your brain.
Stimulate your mind, improve your memory and increase your focus with these 10 nutritious and delicious foods:
Put some of these, sweet and tasty berries on top of your cereal or pop a handful in your mouth — you won’t regret it. Both Tufts University and the USDA have found a diet full of blueberries and their extract can reduce the loss of short-term memory and setback the impacts of aging, including loss of balance and dexterity.
The blueberry prevents inflammation, which can cause damage to the brain. The berries do this with anthocyanins — the antioxidant flavonoid compounds found inside them. It’s what gives the fruit their reddish and blue colors.
These health-boosting properties can also be found in strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries, along with grapes and currants.
2. Whole Grains
Forget the low-carb, high-protein diets that were a fad for a while. Carbohydrates give the body and brain the energy it needs to not only survive but thrive.
The key is to fuel your system with complex carbs that your body doesn’t use up quickly. Whole grains can be ingredients in breads, pastas and cereals, which will provide a steady supply of energy your brain’s grey matter performs best on.
Whole grains don’t spike your glucose levels, either. Instead, they slowly release the glucose into your bloodstream. This measured and steady delivery of energy will keep you mentally alert, and you won’t experience the peaks and valleys of non-complex carbs.
These red fruits hold many health benefits. Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant known as lycopene. They can help in the protection against free radicals, which can cause damage to cells. Eventually, these damaged cells can contribute to the development of dementia.
The benefits of tomatoes don’t end there. They also contain vitamins and nutrients like B6 and C. Vitamins like this prevent mental deterioration and are critical for brain health. Vitamin C is good for strengthening your immune system. Many of these vitamins can lower levels of inflammation inside the body.
Oily fish provide us with essential fatty acids (EFAs), which our bodies cannot produce. Although we can’t manufacture them ourselves, EFAs are important to our brain function.
Studies have shown that eating fish can prevent brain cells from dying and help to stave off Alzheimer’s disease. To get these benefits, try eating oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines at least once or twice a week.
5. Dark Chocolate
Even in small amounts, this delicious substance can pack a solid, healthy dose of antioxidants. One study showed that the yummy substance contains more antioxidants than some fruits including Acai berries.
These components in dark chocolate slow aging process and protect the brain from detrimental free radicals.
Make sure to limit the quantity you ingest per day as it also contains high amounts of sugar and fat.
Rosemary is a great herb to provide flavor for your food, but a bonus is that it can help repel disease.
A University of Northumbria study found that people exposed to the rosemary scent had better memory. In addition to improving memory, rosemary can also help clear the mind, decrease anxiety and alleviate stress.
Thought that was enough? The herb also contains carnosic acid which has been shown to fight cancer.
The natural nitrates found in beets can increase the flow of blood to the brain — boosting cognitive performance. This boost happens because the nitrate-rich beets get turned into nitrite in the body, which can assist the body in opening blood vessels. With the unblocking of blood flow and the oxygen contained within it, the brain functions better.
Nitrates aren’t only found in beets, either. They are also present in celery, cabbage and leafy greens such as spinach.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
Zinc is packed into pumpkin seeds, and the mineral supports memory formation and cognition. Just a handful of pumpkin seeds per day gets you the recommended daily dose of zinc. So, grab your pumpkin seeds and enjoy better memory and thinking!
This vegetable is a good source of vitamin K. The fat-soluble vitamin is key in helping blood to clot, but it has other benefits, too. Vitamin K has anti-aging properties which prevent heart disease, osteoporosis and some types of cancer. This vitamin also regulates calcium in the bones and the brain — so enjoy both those broccoli stalks and florets!
This creamy stone fruit contains monounsaturated fats. Those are healthy fats, which you actually want in your system.
From maintaining healthy cholesterol to improving blood flow in your body to keeping homocysteine in check, avocadoes are strong supporters of your overall health and brain function.
Next time you’re at the grocery store or farmers’ market, consider picking up these 10 nutritious and delicious items. By putting them in your grocery basket and into your body, you’ll boost your brain health for years to come.