Best Foods For Active Brain Health

Today we’ll have a guest post on the best foods for active brain health.

About the guest blogger:

Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer from Los Angeles whose writing covers everything on health and fitness, travel and dining and marketing and social media. To keep her mind active throughout the day, she drinks coffee every morning.

Hope you’ll enjoy it 🙂

Just as eating the right foods can protect your body from disease and improve its ability to function, eating well can also help to protect and enhance your mind. Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are all necessary to keep your brain working at an optimal level, while helping prevent certain debilitating illnesses and boosting performance.

Maintaining a healthy diet is an excellent way to get these necessary elements. Many of the nutrients needed to keep your body healthy are the same that constitute a “brain-healthy diet”, as defined by The Alzheimer’s Association: “one that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encourages good blood flow to the brain, and is low in fat and cholesterol.”

Here are a few of the best foods that will help keep your brain healthy:

1) Avocados: This fatty fruit contributes to healthy blood flow, which in turn, means a healthy brain. Avocados also lower blood pressure, which can protect against hypertension—a condition which can lead to a decline in cognitive abilities.

2) Apples: Eating an apple a day can help keep the doctor away…from your brain! The quercetin (a phytonutrient) found in apples protects the brain from deterioration due to oxidative stress, which can lead Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

3) Eggs: The “perfect protein,” eggs provide steady energy to fuel the body and brain. They are also are high in choline—a necessary component in the production of brain cells specializing in memory.

4) Whole grains: Folate found in whole grains plays a great part in the development of brain cells. Enriched whole grain products not only provide this much-needed nutrient, but also are an excellent source of fiber—for energy regulation—and other B vitamins, which help enhance alertness.

5) Blueberries and strawberries: The antioxidants found in these sweet and tart berries are associated with improved motor skills and memory. Some research also suggests that a diet high in antioxidants can also inhibit the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

6) Salmon or other fatty fish: Research has shown that people who regularly consume fish have a better memory than people who do not eat fish. In addition to the protein for energy, fatty fish are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids—which are linked with an improved ability to learn, and provides protection from Alzheimer’s disease.

Of all the fatty fishes, salmon is the number one source of DHA, the predominant omega-3 fat in your brain, which can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Salmon is also nature’s top source of vitamin D (a deficiency in vitamin D is linked to cognitive decline amongst older persons).

7) Coffee: A recent Finnish study found that people who drank three to five cups of coffee a day reduced their chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 65-percent (compared to individuals who drank only two to three cups a day).

The antioxidants found in coffee are believed to provide these protective effects. And the caffeine—a natural stimulant—found in coffee helps enhance focus and concentration, and can stimulate the production of endorphins, which can improve mood.

8 ) Dark chocolate: Like coffee, dark chocolate is packed full of antioxidant properties and contains a small amount of caffeine. Additionally, the polyphenols found in cocoa is considered to help increase blood flow to the brain.

A Journal of Nutrition study in 2009 found that eating dark chocolate (the type that has the highest levels of polyphenols and antioxidants) each day helps protect against age-related memory loss—a third of an ounce was all the subjects needed to eat in order to see the benefits.

These eight foods will help you protect your brain from disease and deterioration while also boosting performance. The best “brain foods” not only help to improve focus and memory, but also provide energy for busy days. Try to incorporate some of these foods into your daily meals, and eat them frequently to see the biggest benefits.

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