A Healthy Brain depends on Healthy Eating
A healthy diet is essential for optimal brain function and will support processes such as memory, concentration, and creativity.
A healthy diet is essential for the entire body, but it’s crucial for assisting in brain development and function. The brain needs to be supplied with adequate amounts of protein and nutrients in order to perform properly. Although there are a variety of factors that affect brain health and performance, a healthy diet is probably the most essential element in allowing the brain to function at its peak. There are particular foods which stimulate and empower the brain, while other foods can inhibit its function.
A Healthy Brain is Important at Every Age
From infancy to old age, a healthy brain is needed to maximize mental processes, clarity, concentration, and memory. The foods we choose to eat can enhance energy levels, mood, overall happiness and creativity as well. A healthy diet will provide the necessary nutrition the brain needs, such as folate to stimulate the brain, omega-3 fatty acids to enhance the brain’s function, and tryptophan, which provides needed serotonin and can relieve depression and insomnia.
These are only a few of many important nutrients a healthy diet provides which are essential for overall brain health. Choline is one of the most important elements necessary to create the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. Soybeans, egg yolks, peanuts, and liver, are rich sources of choline as well as protein.
Breakfast is often touted as being the most important meal of the day, which is due to the fact that breakfast is needed more for the brain than the stomach. Studies have proven that students and athletes who eat a healthy morning meal perform better on tests and athletic competitions. A smart breakfast will fuel the body, the brain, and also jump start the metabolism.
14 Superfoods for a Super Brain
Some foods boost brain power and function more than others. The 14 following “superfoods” are excellent sources of nutrients which will nourish the brain and the body.
Whole grains: Whole grain foods such as breads and cereal provide needed folate, which brings oxygen-rich blood to the brain, and contain vitamin B6 and thiamine. Whole grains can enhance memory and focus. Whole grain foods also contribute to sustained energy levels by stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Eggs: Eggs are rich in choline which helps boost memory and concentration. Eggs are easy to cook and delicious for any meal or snacks. They are also an excellent source of protein and can contribute to energy levels.
Nuts: Walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as vitamins E and B6, which assist with equalizing the brain’s serotonin levels. Almonds offer the nutrient riboflavin which boosts memory. Pecans are high in choline which encourages memory and brain development. Cashews are rich sources of magnesium which facilitates providing more oxygen to the brain.
Berries (including strawberries, blackberries and blueberries): The ellagic acid in blueberries protects brain cells from being damaged. Antioxidants are found in strawberries, and the anthocyanins found in blackberries can prevent degenerative brain diseases. Berries can improve memory and cognitive skills and assist with communication between brain cells.
Seeds: Seeds and nuts can improve mood and and brain function by providing thiamine, zinc, Vitamins A and E, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Wild salmon: Wild salmon is one of the richest sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for mood, memory, and concentration.
Avocados: Avocados contain mono-unsaturated fats which assists in blood flow. The brain requires healthy fats in order to maintain focus and concentration. Avocados are delicious added to salads, made into dips or added to sandwiches.
Tomatoes: The lypocene in tomatoes offers up powerful antioxidants which prevents damage from free radicals. Free radicals are a possible factor in the development in brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Tomatoes also offer vitamins A and C as well as potassium.
Red cabbage: Red cabbage contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that prevent the cells from being damaged from free radicals. Cabbage is delicious added to soups, or can be cooked as a vegetable side dish.
Spinach: Spinach offers plenty of folate which empowers memory, offers anti-aging benefits and assists memory and concentration. Spinach is easily added to salads, sandwiches or can be served as a side dish.
Green tea: Green tea contains catechines and polyphenols, which help the brain to relax and stimulates dopamine levels. Green tea increases memory and concentration and can help sustain concentration levels. Tea can be added to the diet as a hot or cold drink anytime of day.
Bananas: Bananas are loaded with nutrients such as vitamin B6, potassium, and folic acid which increase serotonin levels and mood. Bananas are simple to add to the diet as snacks, on cereals or in smoothies.
Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate, which contains at least 70% cocoa, offers powerful antioxidants and flavonoids which boost blood circulation in the brain. Increased blood flow enables better concentration, memory and cognitive processes. Dark chocolate is an excellent dessert or dark chocolate powder can be added to smoothies.
Dry beans: Vitamin B5, folic acid, and magnesium can be found in dry beans. Proper brain function depends upon a healthy supply of B vitamins. Beans are easy to cook into a healthy soup or eaten with other foods such as salads.
These top 14 foods offer essential nutrients for optimal brain function and health, and are easily incorporated into the diet. Try adding more of these foods into your diet and see if you notice a difference in your memory, concentration, mood and creativity levels!