The human brain is certainly the most complex organ in your body. Now, you may think that the brain you’re born with is the one you’re stuck with — which is true to some extent — but what if you can enhance your mental fitness and overcome hard-wired self-defeating thoughts? How awesome is that?
There are certain foods that help improve your cognitive processes and emotions. By eating these foods, your brain’s health will be altered, and you can enhance your cognitive abilities — like abstract thinking, problem solving and reasoning — and thus counteract the effects of aging. It’s estimated that, by 2030, all baby boomers will be older than age 65, which would require nursing home care to about 1.9 Million in the U.S. Consequently, a steep rise in the number of Americans living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is expected.
With the significant number of neurological disorders that have been associated with diet, it’s critical to take into consideration which foods you consume and how beneficial are the nutrients you’re getting from them.
Here’s a list of 8 foods that can enhance your brain health and boost your cognitive abilities.
Blueberries (Vaccinium section Cyanococcus L.) are well known for their taste and rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties and other bioactive compounds, notably polyphenols and anthocyanins. The former has been shown to improve your cognitive function and enhance signaling in memory centers. Moreover, it has the potential to avert neurodegenerative disorders such as age-related memory loss.
Walnuts (Juglans regia L.), it would seem, have the shape of a tiny brain. But, they don’t just look like brains and represent one of the most effective and cheapest ways to nourish your brain. These nuts are laden with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, which have been shown to promote brain health.
At the Tufts University of Boston, a study demonstrated that an increased nut intake among older adults has a significant impact on processing speed, memory and cognitive flexibility.
Walnuts don’t stop there! They have the potential to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic neurodegenerative diseases.
It’s salmon time! This fish is highly beneficial to your brain health because it’s rich in Omega 3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid. These fatty acids are helpful because your brain is fat, really fat! Several sources of evidence have shown that fish consumption reduces the risk associated with cognitive decay for Alzheimer’s disease patients, with positive effects on cognitive decline in the elderly. Fish are also a reliable source of B-complex vitamins and vitamin D which has been shown to contain anti-inflammatory properties and preserve cognition in the elderly respectively.
There are various ways to prepare salmon. Grilled, poached, baked, smoked, canned or even raw! Just avoid adding extra sugar and calories to it.
Consuming avocado is another way of enhancing your brain health. Like Salmon, avocados have been shown to reduce cognitive decay in the elderly and improve cognitive impairment. They are a reliable source of vitamin E which plays a key role in cognitive performance since low vitamin E intakes can lead to poor memory and other complications.
You can either eat avocados as they are or as part of a healthy salad composed of green leafy veggies so as to extend your lifespan, and thus boost your cognitive abilities.
Puk Puk Pukaaak! Both eggs and egg yolks are of paramount importance for brain health because they contain a certain number of essential nutrients, notably calcium, zin, selenium and choline. When it comes to brain health, choline is particularly important because it contributes to the production of signaling molecules in the brain, and thus help to improve memory and reduce seizure-induced memory impairment. According to this study on short-term folate, vitamin B6 or vitamin B12 supplementation, choline, in conjunction with B vitamins, has positive effects on memory performance in women of various ages.
Overall, moderate eggs consumption is beneficial to human health in various ways such as maintaining regular cholesterol levels, reducing the risk associated with heart disease and stroke, improving eye health.
It only takes a morning breakfast to boost your cognitive abilities!
Turmeric is an excellent source of curcumin which contains inimitable medicinal properties. These benefit a certain number of health complications such as metabolic syndrome, kidney disease and degenerative eye conditions. When it comes to brain health, this curry spice has been linked with amelioration of cognitive decay in both traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease. The curcumin component is a strong antioxidant which offers anti-amyloid activities that protect the brain from lipid peroxidation, and thus reduce the risk associated with dementia and memory complications.
The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is very low in India, and guess what’s the main spice used in Indian food? Right, turmeric! Even if you don’t consume Indian food you can add it to rice or use it in soups.
Yummy! Cocoa is the essential ingredient for dark chocolate and laden with antioxidant molecules, notably flavanols. The latter is often associated with improvement of cognitive function in the elderly and overall brain health. This 2013 study on the effects of cocoa on cognitive performance found that consumption of raw cocoa or dark chocolate induces positive effects on multiple aspects of cognition and mood. Other pieces of evidence have shown it can reduce learning and memory impairment.
Just make sure to read the chocolate bar’s label before eating it to make sure it contains sufficient amounts of cocoa with the best-case scenario being 80% of cocoa content.
8. Olive Oil
Overall human health benefits of olive oil are widely known, but did you ever consider it can boost your cognitive abilities? Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E which is associated with amelioration of cognitive impairment after brain trauma and reduction of cognitive decay caused by aging. It’s also rich in monounsaturated fats which have excellent anti-inflammatory properties, induce positive effects on genes associated with cancer and protect your brain from neurodegeneration. These beneficial effects have been demonstrated in this study together with additional learning and memory benefits.