12 Best Brain Foods You Should Have In Your Daily Diet
How much consideration do you give to feeding your brain? You probably appreciate the importance of exercising your mind by doing crosswords and other exercises, but giving your brain the right nutrition shouldn’t be overlooked. A diet of junk food will leave both mind and body feeling sluggish, whereas a diet crammed with nutritious foods will help your brain work properly. Make sure you include the following foods in your diet …
What are the best foods for your brain?
Oily fish like mackerel, sardines and salmon are one of the best brain foods, thanks to the essential fatty acids they contain. These EFAs are easily absorbed by the body and help to protect against memory loss. If you don’t eat fish, then opt for flaxseed oil, pumpkin seeds and soya beans (you can also get eggs that have been fortified with Omega-3).
Nuts & Seeds
Need a snack? Choose a handful of seeds or nuts to keep you going. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, which is good for your memory and thinking processes. The vitamin E in nuts will also help keep your brain healthy. Sunflower seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts … there are so many tasty nuts and seeds. But do go for unsalted nuts or nut butters – too much salt is most definitely not good for brain or body.
A small glass of pomegranate juice every day will give another boost to your brainpower. It’s best diluted because of the added sugar. The good thing about pomegranate juice is its antioxidant content. This protects your brain from free radicals, and according to neurologist David Perlmutter, the brain is more vulnerable to damage from free radicals than any other organ.
Avocados may contain a lot of fat, but it’s the healthy form – monounsaturated fat. This is good for your blood circulation, which helps keep your brain fit, and also helps lower your blood pressure. Considering their high calorie content, half an avocado per day will be sufficient to get the benefits.
When you eat grains such as wheat and rice, opt for the wholegrain version rather than the refined white grain. Whole grains allow a slow release of energy, which is just what your brain and body need to function well. They also reduce your chances of heart disease, which means that blood will be flowing more efficiently to your brain.
Like whole grains, beans are another good way to provide your body with a stable release of energy. Your brain uses glucose as fuel, and needs a constant source as it is unable to store the glucose. So by eating beans, you’ll keep your blood sugar levels steady – and that’s good news for your brain.
Blueberries boost your brain, according to studies. It’s a bonus that they happen to be delicious! Any berry will be good for you, because of their antioxidant content. But don’t give in to those muffin cravings – eat your berries fresh, or add them to a bowl of porridge.
Good news for chocolate fans! A small amount of dark chocolate (up to 1oz/25g) daily will give you a mood boost, thanks to its caffeine content. Even better, it contains antioxidants. Stick to just that small piece though, and it must have a high cocoa content.
Would you ever have believed that a curry could be good for you? If it contains turmeric, it could be. Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin which is brilliant for your brain. Curcumin helps maintain serotonin and dopamine, the neurotransmitters that boost your mood. It’s also an antioxidant (we’ve already seen what that can do for the brain), and helps the production of new brain cells. So enjoy a curry regularly – your brain will love it!
Yes, that simple glass of water is a must for keeping your brain healthy. Did you know that it’s actually about 75% water? So if you’re dehydrated your brain can’t possibly function properly. Maintain a steady intake of water throughout the day, and give your brain the fluid it needs.
If you’ve never thought of broccoli as a brain food, it’s time you started including more of it in your diet. It’s a good source of vitamin K and folic acid; both are linked with warding off Alzheimer’s, and folic acid is also believed to help with depression. Also eat other leafy green vegetables, such as kale (the latest ‘superfood’), chard, and spinach.
There’s something to be said for ‘going to work on an egg’, a slogan used back in the Seventies. Along with their many other nutrients, eggs contain choline, which produces a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This is believed to be important for memory and brain function. So try eggs for breakfast, to keep your brain firing away all day!