As the title suggests, this article is about brain food; foods that are good for the brain. So which foods are most healthy for normal brain function and which can actually enhance cognitive function and mental alertness? Without getting technical we’ll take a look at some of the best brain foods you can eat, as well as some dietary supplements that will help to improve your brain power. Many of these foods can also help prevent the onset of brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
One of the very best foods for the brain is fish, particularly salmon and tuna as they are packed full of important omega 3 fatty acids. Oily fish contain DHA and EPA in a ready-to-use form, allowing for easy assimilation into the body and feeding the brain cells more efficiently.
There is a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes that fights a free radical known to cause damage to brain cells. Lycopene, the antioxidant found in this fruit, puts up a great defence against the possible onset of Alzheimer’s.
Vitamin K has long been recognised as one of the most important nutrients for maintaining healthy cognitive function, and broccoli is one of the richest sources of Vitamin K. In fact most green vegetables are good sources of this essential brain nutrient.
The talk up about this particular berry is that it contains properties that keep the mind functioning to its capacity like a younger mind; meaning, as you age, a diet containing regular portions of blueberries will keep your mind sharp and focused as if you were 20 and not 60. Antioxidants found in blueberries are also thought to fight off brain disorders.
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts, like fish, are packed with essential good oils. They are also an abundant source of Vitamin E, which studies show has an impact on reducing cognitive decline as we age. Some of the best are:
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Just like the rest of the body the brain needs energy to operate and function at its optimum capacity. It gets this energy from a steady stream of glucose in the blood. A sudden hit from refined sugary products can put the brain into an artificially elevated state. Wholegrains are a better option as they are low GI, allowing the glucose to reach the brain at a slower rate rather than in a rush. Brown pasta, brown rice, wholegrain breads and cereals are the best source.
The magic of beans – any kind of beans – is that they stabilise glucose levels in the blood and, like with wholegrains, send a controlled and steady stream of glucose to the brain.
Coffee contains more caffeine than tea, but both consumed in moderation are certainly of benefit to keeping a sharper mind. Caffeine stimulates the brain, feeding it energy and rendering your mind very alert. However, too much caffeine will just make you feel jittery and scattered, having the opposite result and causing all your focus to fly out the window.
Treat your taste buds and treat your mind at the same time. It’s win-win with dark chocolate as it has very powerful antioxidants as well as substances that increase serotonin levels, giving you that ‘all is good with the world’ sensation. Dark chocolate contains less sugar than milk chocolate, which helps to avoid that sugar rush.
Brain Food Supplements
Most multivitamins and minerals are healthy for the brain. Fish oil capsules rich in omega 3 DHA are particularly good. There are also some other good scientifically formulated supplements on the market that directly target brain health, improved cognitive function, increased alertness and levels of focus, as well as being beneficial in the fight against mental illness in all its forms. One that is worth a look is Neuro Clarity. Another is called Instant ATT.