The foods we eat play a role in supporting the health of our brain and the nervous system. Certain foods play a great role in keeping your brain sharp if eaten regularly:
Research shows that blueberries are one of the BEST brain foods. Published scientific studies show that blueberries are packed with nutrients that not only improve brain function, but that also protect delicate brain structures against oxidative damage. Rich in powerful polyphenol compounds, blueberries have been shown to uniquely protect the brain against free radicals, radiation, inflammation, aging, and the damaging effects of neurotoxins.1
Fish is very high in Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), which are extremely important fats that support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. Unfortunately, humans cannot synthesise EFAs so they must be obtained through diet or supplementation.
Deep-water fish, such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega essential fatty acids—which are ‘essential’ for brain function. Sardines, anchovies, herring, mackerel, small locally caught white fish, and Alaskan sockeye salmon are also good options. Sourcing these fresh is typically a healthier option then canned fish
Taking a supplement is quite possibly better than fresh fish for supporting your omega-3 needs rather then potentially contaminated fish, as toxins such as mercury is always a consideration. Fish oil in supplements has been shown to contain relatively low levels of contamination, so often a better source of omega-3.6
3) Other Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
- Nuts and Seeds are good sources of EFAs and vitamin E — focus on eating walnuts (one of the best), brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, sunflower, sesame and, pumpkin seeds, unhydrogenated nut butters, and tahini.
- Chia seeds are the richest plant-source of healthy oils and contains more omega-3 than salmon.
- Olive and Coconut Oil contain fats that have anti-inflammatory properties and olive oil is a source of omega 9 and vitamin K both of which are important to the brain.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that has anticancer properties and may offer significant protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s begins as an inflammatory process in the brain.
5) Other Fruits and Vegetables
Evidence suggests that diets high in fruit and vegetable content, particularly those of dark colour (blueberries, strawberries, spinach) may help protect against oxidative stress and may improve cognitive and motor function.8
- Strawberries are famous for their antioxidant capacity and they contain compounds that also protect the brain and memory.
- Avocados are high in good fats for the brain, avocados promote blood flow and are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health.
- Dark Greens (e.g.kale, spinach, salad greens, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts)are all also high in vitamin K. These foods are important as Vitamin K not only assists with blood clotting and maintaining healthy strong bones but helps to limit neuronal damage in the brain.
- Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant which may protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.
- Bananas are high in manganese which is important for growth, wound healing and brain function.
6) Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is an anti-oxidant powerhouse. Dark chocolate is one of nature’s most concentrated sources of theobromine — a mild, natural stimulant which helps to keep us focused (different to caffeine and does not strongly stimulate the central nervous system). It also contains Phenylethylamine (PEA) which releases endorphins, our natural feel-good chemicals helping to lift our mood.
A few types of proteins to consider for brain health include:
- Goat’s milk products — Animal phosphorous is found in goat’s milk and is essential to the brain. It is virtually unavailable to the vegetable kingdom.
- Egg yolk — Yolk is a leading source for choline, a nutrient that recently has been proven to boost brainpower by speeding up the sending of signals to nerve cells in the brain.
- Cannelloni beans — Cannelloni beans are also loaded with Vitamin B1, thiamine which is essential for high mental performance.
Barham-Floreani, J. (2013, November 7). 8 Foods That Feed Your Brain. Retrieved from: http://welladjustedbabies.com/8-foods-that-feed-your-brain/#ixzz3Qz2MKiNN