These are the Best Foods for Your Brain Health
It should be obvious that you would prefer to have a healthy brain. Your brain runs your body and tells your body parts what to do. It regulates your metabolism, orchestrates the healing and recovery process when you are sick or injured, and is responsible for thinking and reasoning – processes that are uniquely human. All movements, both large muscles and bones and inside your microscopic cells, depend on your brain for oversight, direction, and control.
But while we all get a brain issued to us, we’re not provided with an owner’s manual. When your brain is healthy, your body is more likely to work well. When your brain is sick, your body cannot remain healthy for long. So, it’s up to us to figure out the best practices for a healthy brain.
One of the most important habits to develop is good nutrition, learning which foods are brain boosting and which will hinder your brain health. Let’s look at the many good foods you can eat to make your brain happier and healthier.
Avocados are not only delicious and fun, but they are loaded with quality nutrients. Healthy fats that enhance blood flow and nerve function, folic acid that helps you absorb vitamins, Vitamins C and E, and copper have all been shown to improve the way your brain works, including problem-solving.
Beans feature magnesium, zinc, antioxidants that reduce cellular stress, and folic acid that helps you avoid depression and cognitive decline.
Blueberries give you a better memory and have been linked to reducing the chance of Alzheimer’s, lessening brain inflammation, streamlining nerve communication and even supporting neuroplasticity, the tendency for your brain to heal and learn. Strawberries improve cognition and brain health, and slow memory decline, as well as lowering the risk of cancer. Watermelon has lycopene, an antioxidant that lightens brain stress, and it also hydrates the brain.
Coffee provides caffeine, which affects performance on memory tests and overall mental function. Tea may stimulate or relax you, and it improves your mood and supports your immune system. And dark chocolate gives you flavonoids, antioxidants that reduce brain inflammation and facilitate blood flow. This lessens brain stress and slows the aging process.
Eggs supply choline, which supports brain development, learning and memory. They also give you lutein, which contributes to the health and function of your eyes and improves cognition.
Olive oil is renowned as a healthy fat, which your brain needs to build and maintain brain tissue. It has also related to slowing or avoiding Alzheimer’s.
Nuts and seeds are great for your brain – almonds offer Vitamin E, which protects your brain cells. Walnuts contain alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) which is an omega-3 fatty acid that heals and maintains your blood vessels, especially those in your brain. And seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and pomegranate seeds have Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids that improve cognition and reduce stress.
Turmeric supplies curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that safeguards your brain by limiting brain stress and increasing oxygen in your brain cells, while garlic is shown to reduce the probability of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Salmon and other fatty fish like sardines and cod supply healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids that heal your brain and lower blood pressure.
Spinach and kale are rich in vitamins, minerals and other substances needed for normal brain function, like Vitamin K, lutein, beta-carotene and folic acid, which slow cognitive decline and benefit overall brain health. Soybeans give you fiber, protein and B vitamins your brain loves, and oatmeal enhances blood flow through the vessels of your brain.
There are foods you should stay away from, too – sugars, high fructose corn syrup and fried or processed foods increase the inflammation of the blood vessels in your brain, which accelerates aging and leaves your brain weaker and less resilient.
You wouldn’t put cheap gas into a sports car, and your brain is like a mega-Ferrari, a finely tuned machine that works better if you put in the right fuel. Give it some thought when you’re deciding what to eat or feed your family – it can make all the difference in the world to take good care of your brain.