July 16 2021
Since the brain is the control centre of the body, it is responsible for the proper regulation of various processes such as keeping the heart beating and lungs breathing and allowing you to move, feel and think. Hence it is necessary to keep the brain in peak working condition. The foods that are consumed play an important role in keeping the brain healthy. It is essential for maintaining proper brain functioning to boost memory and concentration. Some of the foods that boost brain function are:
Consumption of fatty fish is one of the most beneficial foods to improve brain activity.
Fishes like salmon, trout, and sardines are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. omega-3s are utilized by the brain to build brain and nerve cells, and these fats are essential for enhancing learning and memory. Intake of foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids helps in slowing down age-related mental degeneration and also helps in warding off Alzheimer’s disease. Reduced levels of omega-3s fatty acids in the body are linked to increased risk of developing learning impairment, as well as depression. Studies show that people who ate fish regularly had more grey matter in their brains. Grey matter contains most of the nerve cells which play a major role in controlling decision making, memory, and emotion. Thus fatty fish is an excellent choice of food for maintaining proper brain health. Alvizia fish oil supplements help in improving brain health.
The intake of coffee is beneficial in enhancing brain function. The two main components in coffee — caffeine and antioxidants — help your brain. The caffeine that is present in coffee has several positive effects on the brain such as:
- Increased alertness: Caffeine keeps the brain alert by blocking adenosine which is a chemical messenger that makes you sleepy and relaxed.
- Improved mood: Caffeine may also boost some of your “feel-good” neurotransmitters including serotonin.
- Sharpened concentration: It is found that regular intake of coffee increases the concentration and effectiveness in performing the assigned tasks.
- Drinking coffee over the long term is also linked to a reduced risk of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disorders. This is attributed to coffee’s high concentration of antioxidants.
Blueberries are beneficial for the health of the brain. Blueberries and other deeply colored berries contain a compound known as anthocyanins which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Thus they prevent the onset of brain ageing and neurodegenerative diseases. Some of the antioxidants in blueberries have been found to improve communication between brain cells.
Studies show that blueberries help improve memory and may even delay the onset of short-term memory loss.
Turmeric is a spice that has several benefits for the brain. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can cross the blood-brain barrier, through which it can directly enter the brain and benefit the cells there. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that has been linked to the following brain benefits:
- May benefit memory: Curcumin may help in improving memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease. It is also effective in clearing the amyloid plaques that are associated with this disease.
- Eases depression: It boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are essential for improving the mood.
- Helps with the growth of new brain cells: Curcumin boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor which is a type of growth hormone that stimulates the growth of brain cells. It may also help in delaying the onset of age-related mental decline.
Broccoli contains powerful plant compounds, including antioxidants. It also consists of high amounts of vitamin K, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for forming sphingolipids, a type of fat that is essential for forming new brain cells. In older adults, intake of vitamin K is known to boost memory. broccoli also contains a large number of compounds that give it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may help in protecting the brain against damage.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants. They have other essential nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper.
- Zinc: The presence of zinc in the body is crucial for nerve signaling. Zinc deficiency is known to trigger the onset of many neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and Parkinson’s disease.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is needed for learning and memory. The deficiency of magnesium causes neurological diseases, migraines, depression, and epilepsy.
- Copper: One of the important functions of copper is to help in controlling nerve signals. The decrease in copper levels is associated with the occurrence of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Iron: Iron deficiency manifests in the form of brain fog and impaired brain function.
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in brain-boosting compounds such as flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants. The flavonoids in chocolate are active in the areas of the brain that deal with learning and memory. They enhance memory and also help in slowing down age-related mental decline. Chocolate is also an effective mood booster. Intake of chocolate increases positive feelings.
Studies show that eating nuts improve markers of the heart, and having a healthy heart is linked to having a healthy brain. Including nuts in the diet can also improve cognition and help in preventing neurodegenerative diseases. Nuts are rich in things such as healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E which have beneficial effects on brain health. Vitamin E protects cell membranes from free radical damage, thus reducing the rate of mental decline. Eating walnuts is good for brain function as it contains omega-3 fatty acids.
Oranges are important for brain health as it contains vitamin C which is a key factor in preventing mental decline. Eating sufficient amounts of vitamin C-rich foods can protect against age-related mental decline and prevent the occurrence of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that fights off the free radicals that can damage brain cells. Bell peppers, guava, kiwi, tomatoes, and strawberries are also high in vitamin C.
Eggs are rich in several nutrients tied to brain health like vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and choline. Choline is an important micronutrient that triggers the secretion of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory. Consumption of choline improves memory and mental function. Eating eggs provides ample amounts of choline.
B vitamins are essential for brain health. They are effective in slowing the progression of mental decline in the elderly. Studies show that deficiency of folate and B12 causes depression.
Folate deficiency is common in elderly people with dementia. Using folic acid supplements in such individuals can help in minimizing age-related mental decline. Vitamin B12 is also involved in synthesizing brain chemicals and regulating sugar levels in the brain.
The presence of caffeine in green tea boosts brain function. It also improves alertness, performance, memory, and concentration.
Green tea contains L-theanine which is an amino acid that can cross the blood-brain barrier. It increases the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps in reducing anxiety and provides relaxation. The polyphenols and antioxidants present in green tea protect the brain from mental decline, improves memory, and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disorders. Alvizia green tea extract supplements improve memory.