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Ever since we were little, parents and health professionals repeatedly tell us what to eat. “It’s good for you,” they say, as your parents scoop a generous spoonful of mixed vegetables onto your dinner plate. We hear it over and over, and several studies seem to confirm at least some of the buzz surrounding certain superfoods. The food we eat plays a primary role in how our body behaves and how it functions. Topreserve brain function as you age,you must take some precautions while you’re still young, and it starts with nutrition.
In the following article, we present ten foods that are perfect for maintaining your mental health and boosting your brain power.
We all remember growing up, hearing our parents nagging us to eat more broccoliat the dinner table. Well, your mom was right after all. Broccoli is high inVitamin K, whichplays a crucial role in your body’s response to injury, including blood coagulation and improving bone strength. Vitamin K protects your brain against oxidative stress, and it can also improve cognitive function.Broccoli is also high in choline, which has been shown to boost memory retention due to theenhancement of acetylcholinesynthesis. Acetylcholine is your brain’s primary learning neurotransmitter.
9. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is gaining in popularity. From pop stars to fitness gurus, more and more people recommend consuming coconut oil for its many health benefits. Coconut oil has a high concentration of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are fats that can be absorbed quickly by your digestive system, so they represent a fast energy source for your body. The brain is always working, so it needs to have access to high-quality fuel at all times, and MCTs are a great source of quick ketone energy. Coconut oil can also reduce neural inflammation, and it can help with preventing memory loss. Many people even use coconut oil as a form of natural skin care, so it is quite versatile.
Apparently, there’s more to the 5 o’clock tea than simple etiquette. Green, black, and white teas contain L-theanine, a non-essential amino acid that has a relaxing effect. L-theanine is known for reducing stress, anxiety and improving focus.
Tea also contains small amounts of caffeine that works alongside L-theanine in promoting cognition and attention. The synergistic effect of these substances will take the edge off, and will allow you to concentrate on the task at hand. Tea is also a good source of antioxidants which can further enhance cognitive function.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a common ingredient in Spanish and Mexican foods, but they can also be consumed roasted. Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophanis transformed into serotonin by the human body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter known for improving your mood and enhancing your sense of well-being. Tryptophan can also be used for the treatment of insomnia. So if you want to improve your mood and get a better night’s sleep, reach for a bag of pumpkin seeds.
We can’t answer the age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, but we can surely say that eating eggs is good for your brain.
Like broccoli, eggs are rich in choline, the chemical precursor to acetylcholine, which is a vital neurotransmitter in your brain linked to memory and learning. Certain areas of the brain respond to acetylcholine and are known as cholinergic areas. These areas are important for arousal, motivation, focus and attention, memory formation and information recall. Choline supports a wide array of crucial neurological functions. A diet that lacks sufficient choline intake can lead to brain fog, poor mental clarity, and difficulty concentrating.
Walnuts are often considered one of the most effective foods you can eat to maintain your mental health and prevent the apparition of neurodegenerative diseases.Walnuts contain polyphenolic compounds that can reduce your brain’s oxidation and inflammation. The same compounds can also improve the transmission of signals between neurons, and speed up the breakdownof toxins that might reach your brain.
In addition to the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases, walnuts can also boost your mood. Studies have shown that a lack of omega-3 fatty acids can lead to depression or anxiety. Walnuts contain high amounts of important omega-3s, which can help stabilize your mood, allowing you to be more productive throughout your day.
Kale is often used in salads, and many lifestyle coaches include it in their detoxing diets. Kale is a leafy green that’s highly nutritious, and it contains many vitamins and minerals.
Kale has high concentrations of vitamins A, C, and K. Vitamin C plays a vital role in your brain, where it acts as an antioxidant and enhances your immune system. Neurodegenerative diseases typically produce high levels of oxidative stress in your brain, and Vitamin C and K play an active role in shielding you from such damage.Additionally, Vitamin A acts as a signalling molecule in the brain, and it modulates neurogenesis and neural survival.
3. Red Wine
Now, who said alcohol is not good for you? Well, mostly everyone agrees on that subject, but it’s the amount and type of alcohol that’s important. Red wine contains polyphenols that can reduce the chances of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The dietary polyphenols in red wine can increase neuronal synaptic plasticity, which can prevent Alzheimer’s and mildly enhance memory. With that said, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to brain problems (quite the opposite of memory enhancement).You should refrain from drinking more than one glass of red wine per day. It is recommended to choose a non-alcoholic red wine to achieve maximum benefits of the polyphenol content.Better yet, skip the wine and go with a polyphenol supplement.
Fish, especially oily fish such as salmon, trout, herring, sardines, and mackerel, contains essential fatty acids (EFAs). Thehuman bodycannot produce EFAs, so they must be consumed through food or supplementation. Oily fishcontainsomega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in an active form that’s easily used by the human body. EPA is excellent for reducing bodily inflammation, while DHA works to support brain function. Essential fatty acids help us manage stress and enhance the brain’s serotonin production. They also seem to reduce the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases.
Blueberries are often considered a “superfood,” and after taking a closer look at what they contain, it’s no wonder everybody recommends them. Blueberries contain significant amounts of Vitamins C and K, and they also contain manganese. Manganese is an essential trace metal that acts as a powerful antioxidant in your body. This metal seeks out the dangerous free radicals in your body and neutralizes them. But perhaps the most important aspect of the blueberry is the anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins are the antioxidant compounds known to boost memory and cognitive function.
Boost Brain Power With Food
Much like the analogy of gasoline to a car, the quality of food we eat determines how well we operate. Although it’s common knowledge that some foods are healthier than others, not many people know that certain foods can slow your brain to a crawl. That’s why adding our list of foods to your diet can help boost brain power and kick your cognitive function into overdrive.