Brain food is any food that provides nutrients or other health benefits to the brain. For example, some foods may help increase memory, while others may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other neurological conditions.
These brain foods are some of the best you can add to your diet regularly if you want to keep your mind sharp as you age, help prevent Alzheimer's, or boost your memory. So what are some must-have brain superfoods you should add to your diet to keep your brain healthy? Here are some of our favorite classics.
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1) Fatty Fish
Fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve cognition. Some of these fatty fish include trout, mackerel, and tuna, which are all good for boosting your brainpower. Other fish to consider include sardines, anchovies, herring. If you're not a fan of fish or want to guarantee you're getting enough of these healthy fats in your diet, you can try a daily supplement like fish oil.
2) Leafy Greens
Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, and bok choy are excellent sources of vitamin K, which is essential for brain health. The nutrient helps with many processes in your body, including blood clotting.
Research has shown that raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are all helpful for decreasing cognitive decline, but blueberries are some of nature's best brain foods. They contain compounds called anthocyanins that slow cognitive decline and help prevent diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia. The most well-known source of these compounds is blueberries, but other dark berries are also rich in antioxidants. Find them in smoothies and salads or pop a few in your mouth as a snack throughout your day. Blueberries can be eaten raw or cooked and even steeped into a tea that's delicious hot or cold.
Are eggs healthy? One study revealed that eggs improve cognitive function in older adults, likely because of their rich source of choline. Egg yolks' choline supply makes this a brain superfood since the nutrient is associated with reducing inflammation and promoting brain function, like maintaining memory and communications between brain cells. Check out these easy egg recipes to add some of this superfood to your daily diet!
Turmeric is a staple of Indian cooking and has health benefits. It can reduce inflammation which combats chronic conditions like depression, heart disease, and even cancer. Curcumin—the active ingredient in turmeric—is thought to be one of its most powerful components. The anti-inflammatory properties in curcumin may also slow cognitive decline with age.
We've already mentioned fatty fish, but salmon deserves its own place on this list to highlight its importance. Among the health benefits of salmon, it is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease symptoms of depression and other mental disorders. As we mentioned before, Omega-3s can also increase your focus, making them ideal for students and busy professionals.
7) Dark Chocolate
Yes, dark chocolate is healthy (in moderation). The polyphenols in dark chocolate help dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow throughout your body. Blood flow is helpful for your brain, which requires an abundance of oxygen-rich blood. Increasing your blood flow can boost your brainpower and reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack. The flavonoids found in dark chocolate also reduce bad cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk for heart disease.
Broccoli may help you stay mentally alert. Broccoli is packed full of potent plant compounds, including antioxidants and vitamin K- which delivers more than 100% RDI in one cup (160 gram) cooked broccoli! It's also good for brain health thanks to its rich supply of sphingolipids, an essential type of fat found only here amongst other things like beta carotene.
What brain foods do you have as part of your diet? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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