The brain is one of the most vital organs in the body. It is the control center of the body and deals with the functioning of every other organ. So, it comes without saying that brain health is extremely important. It is important to have a healthy life to have a healthy brain, and the fundamental of a healthy life is a good and proper diet. Here are some superfoods for improving your brain health:
Coffee is one of the most popular stimulants used for heightened alertness and concentration. A good cup of coffee in the morning can take away the drowsiness and makes you ready for the day. There are two main components in coffee that help in improving your brain’s health, they are caffeine and anti-oxidants. The caffeine helps block a substance to the brain called adenosine, which makes a person sleepy and drowsy. The antioxidants help in reducing the risk of cognitive decline, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. It is advised to consume coffee in measure amounts as excess caffeine can affect sleep and cause sleep deprivation.
Fatty fishes such as salmon, trout, herring, tuna, and sardines are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Our brains consist of fat which amounts to 50% and half of that fat is of the omega-3 kind. This fatty acid helps in building membranes around each cell in the body especially the ones in the brain thus increasing the structural integrity of the neurons. Omega-3 can also help age-related mental decline and help reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s disease. A study also noted that people with good enough omega-3 fatty acid in the body had increased the flow of blood and better cognition. It was also noted that there is a good amount of grey matter (contains most of the nerve cells) in people who consume boiled or cooked fish daily.
Cocoa powder and its variation in the dark chocolate is packed with brain-boosting compounds such as flavonoids, caffeine, and anti-oxidants. The flavonoids encourage the growth of neuron and blood vessels in the brain which is involved in memory and learning. These flavonoids are a group of plant antioxidant material. Researchers have discovered that people who consume dark chocolate daily have better plasticity in the brain, which is crucial for learning and improved cognition. It has also been found that cocoa is a mood booster, which makes you more receptive to positive responses in your environment. Cocoa stimulates the blood flow to the brain which helps you in improving your performance is task physical activity.
Similar to dark chocolate, a lot of berries contain anti-oxidants of the flavonoid nature. Some of these berries are strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, and mulberries. These berries can reduce inflammation within the body. The antioxidants from the blueberries accumulate within the brain and improve the communication between the brain cells. All of these berries have been proven to delay age-related neurodegenerative diseases and the gradual decline of cognition. They have also been shown to increase the overall plasticity in the brain which means it helps to form new connections, boosting memory and learning. A good way to incorporate them into your diet is to add them to your breakfast or consume them through a smoothie.
Nuts such as sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts are extremely good sources of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. Studies show that consuming nuts can improve your heart’s health which as a result improves your brain’s health. These can also improve the function of your brain during old age. They contain vitamin E which protects the cell from oxidation caused by free radicals. They also improve cognition and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. You can incorporate these nuts into your diet as snacks in between meals.