12 BRAIN-BOOSTING FOODS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS

Hey guys, so I promised to write on this because I think it’s quite important. Just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. But for brain health, it’s not just what you eat—it’s also what you don’t eat. The following nutritional tips will help boost your brainpower and reduce your risk of dementia:



1. OMEGA-3 

Well for a fact, I don’t get enough omega-3 in my foods so I opt for the supplement instead. Fish is a rich source of omega-3, and I mean fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, etc.
Photo Credit: Medical News Today

If you’re not a fan of seafood, consider non-fish sources of omega-3s such as walnuts, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, winter squash, kidney and pinto beans, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans. 

To be very honest, I remember eating most of these foods when I was much younger, and they helped a lot, so thanks to my mum!!! 


2. CHOCOLATES 

Dark chocolates to be precise. If you’re a chocolate lover, now you have more reasons to eat chocolates, but please eat in moderation! An ounce a day is the recommended amount. Perhaps the tastiest of all brain boosting foods, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and protects the brain against oxidative stress from free radicals. It contains endorphins which can improve mood, and if read my post on 18 FOODS THAT MAKE MEN BETTER IN BED, you’ll know this. 



3. COFFEE 

Even though I used to be a huge fan of coffee, but I feel like it stains my teeth so I kinda stopped. Coffee will provide you with an immediate hit of energy that will help you focus on the task at hand, and if it doesn’t have any effect on teeth, then you should drink coffee. You should actually choose coffee over beer! 


4. EGGS 

My man made me fall in love with eggs. Lol! Eggs are egg-ceptionally good for healthy brains and memory. Not only do they contain abundant folate, choline and vitamin B12, but the yolks of free-range hens are an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, which play a vital role in building the brain itself. 

Egg yolks contain choline, an enzyme that powers your brain. 



5. AVOCADO 

Guys, apart from feeding our hair with avocado, do you know it’s also good for your brain? The monounsaturated fats in avocados promote blood flow and reduce blood pressure, which benefits all organs, including the brain. High in calories, a quarter to a half an avocado a day is sufficient. 

The avocado, also called the alligator pear, is a high-fiber, sodium- and cholesterol-free food that provides nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, is rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate) — as well as potassium. Foods naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocados, are widely acknowledged as the secret to a healthy heart, a brilliant brain and eagle eyes. 


6. NUTS 

If you tend to snack on a candy bar at work, swap that with some nuts for a more productive afternoon. Sugar will give you a quick hit of energy but it doesn’t last long (and is followed by a sudden, vicious crash). Swapping those empty calories with some healthy fats will give you longer-lasting energy and an improved ability to think. Just make sure you stick with a handful or two per day, because there can be too much of a good thing. 

Note: A recent study published in Neurology found that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids did not improve cognitive function in older women. The jury is still out but nuts are a positive and convenient alternative to sugar-laden snacks that won’t sustain you. Containing high levels of healthy fats, nuts can increase mental clarity, memory and have been shown to reverse brain aging in older rats. They contain high levels of vitamin E, which prevents cognitive decline. Considering their brain-like shape, it’s suitable that walnuts are perhaps the best nut to eat for brain health. They can enhance mood, reduce mental decline and improve cardiac health. An ounce of nuts a day is enough to do the trick. 


7. BERRIES 

Of all berries, it’s just strawberries I managed to like. I’ve always said I’m not a fan fruits; even though for some reasons people assume I am. The only way I enjoy fruits is when I make a parfait with them. 

Like dark chocolate, many berries contain flavonoid antioxidants. Research suggests that these may make the berries good food for the brain. Antioxidants help by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. The antioxidants in berries include anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin, and quercetin. 

Antioxidant-rich berries that can boot brain health include: 
* strawberries 
* blackberries 
* blueberries 
* mulberries 
* black currants 



8. OATMEAL 

Oatmeal is a slow-digesting food that will provide you with sustainable energy and brain power that will last for several hours. Oatmeal provides glucose, or blood sugar, which is your brain’s basic fuel. That’s why kids who eat a good breakfast perform better in school than those who don’t, for example, notes National Public Radio. Since oatmeal is low on the glycemic index, it provides a slow and steady rise in blood sugar that is long-lasting, which leads to several hours of sustained brain power. Sugary foods, in contrast, cause a sudden spike followed by a crash in blood-sugar levels. 


9. BROCCOLI 
Photo Credit: The Spruce Eats 

This you can definitely find in big supermarkets, even though they kinda expensive in Nigeria. I don’t know about other countries. 

Broccoli is an excellent source of choline, which has been known to improve memory and decrease age-related mental decline. It is also rich in vitamin K, which can increase the speed of brain functions and improve memory abilities. Broccoli can prevent against the harmful oxidative distress discussed above. Two cups about four to five times a week is optimum for brain health. Broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable high in fiber and antioxidants, also contains Vitamin K, which has been shown to affect psychomotor behavior and cognition. Vitamin K helps to synthesize sphingolipids, which participate in cell- to-cell interactions and are needed in high concentration in brain cell membranes. Roast, steam or microwave broccoli to retain its nutrients. Try it in a stir-fry or add it to your breakfast omelet. 


10. OLIVE OIL 

Oh did I tell you this is one of my best friends when it comes to skin care? 

Olive oil is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as antioxidants, which, as discussed above, protects the brain against oxidative stress. It has also been linked to improved learning and memory. One to two tablespoons a day sprinkled on salads or use for cooking is a good amount. 



11. WATER 

I’m sure you weren’t expecting this, right? I can’t mention good stuff for the body without mentioning water! 
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dehydration can damage your ability to focus and recall information, so make sure you’re drinking at least 8 cups of water per day to keep your brain happy and hydrated. 

Make sure you have one of these foods that make you smarter with lunch to avoid mid-afternoon exhaustion. If you used to eat fast food for lunch and have since made a healthy change, did you notice a difference in your energy or memory as a result? Our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted. Your brain cells lose efficiency. Years of research have found that when we're parched, we have more difficulty keeping our attention focused. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. The ability to perform mental arithmetic, like calculating whether or not you'll be late for work if you hit snooze for another 15 minutes, is compromised. 


12. SPINACH AND LEAFY 

GREENS Leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard, and mustard greens are packed with antioxidants that could slow down or reverse memory loss. A study at Harvard Medical School followed 13,000 women for 25 years and found that increased vegetable intake was associated with reduced cognitive decline. These vegetables are packed with vitamins A, C, E and K, minerals, and an abundance of phytochemicals so vast that nutrition professionals are still trying to uncover all of their goodness. Examples of dark green, leafy vegetables are kale, bok choy, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and Swiss chard. Does your family consume these green foods on a regular basis? If you are like many families in the US, you may need to get more of these important vegetables on a regular basis. 


Green foods are crucial to our health for a plethora of reasons including their role in strengthening the immune system, cancer prevention, improved blood circulation, blood purification, lowering cholesterol, promotion of healthy intestinal flora, increased energy, detoxification through improved liver, gall bladder functions, kidney function, and even clearing congestion. 

For children with Autism or ADHD, greens are of even greater importance. Not only are green leafy vegetables a top pick for their stealthy nutritional content, but they are highly regarded for addressing the digestive and/or toxicity issues which generally occur among children with disorders on the spectrum. 


BONUS TIPS 

You should eat salmon before a test, berries to prevent Alzheimer's, or a vitamin supplement to increase your memory. So guys, were you patient enough to read till the end? I hope you start eating healthier, and don’t forget to share to help others too. xx



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