5 Foods Linked To Improved Brain Function
Although no magical pill or all-purpose superfood exists to retain optimal brain function or decrease cognitive decline, maintaining healthy diet habits is an effective strategy to reap the most benefits from what we eat. Adequate intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains is essential to optimal brain function. In addition, protein from plant sources, fatty fish, and healthy fats from olive and canola oil is highly beneficial to brain health.
Research has proven that the most beneficial brain foods are also efficient at heart and blood vessel protection, which includes the following:
- Leafy Green Vegetables
For an excellent source of brain-healthy nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene, opt for regular consumption of kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli. Decreased cognitive decline has also been suggested by research when consuming these plant-based foods.
Leafy greens may be used as wraps, incorporated into smoothies, mixed into sauces and sautes, or eaten with eggs.
- Fatty Fish
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish such as salmon, cod, light canned tuna, and pollack have been linked to decreased blood levels of beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer's Disease, which forms damaging brain clumps. Fatty fish should ideally be consumed twice a week, but individuals who dislike fish can take an omega-3 supplement. In addition, other foods rich in omega 3, including flaxseeds, avocados, and walnuts, may also be included in a healthy diet.
According to research, flavonoids, the natural plant pigments which give berries their vibrant colors, are proven to increase memory capacity. Researchers at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital conducted a study that concluded that women who consumed at least two servings of strawberries and blueberries weekly noticed a decline in memory loss by up to two and a half years.
- Tea And Coffee
For millions of consumers, the benefits of coffee and tea go beyond a short-term energy and concentration boost. For example, the Journal of Nutrition published a 2014 study that concluded better mental function test scores in participants who consumed higher amounts of caffeine. Secondary research has also suggested that caffeine is beneficial in solidifying new memories.
This realization was made at Johns Hopkins University, where investigators asked participants to concentrate on a panel of images, then ingest either a placebo pill or a 200-milligram caffeine tablet. The following day, accurate identification of the photos was more successful with participants placed in the caffeine group.
Nuts are essential to increased brain function as outstanding sources of protein and healthy fats, while walnuts may also improve memory capacity. Increased walnut consumption and better cognitive test scores were linked by a UCLA study conducted in 2015.
A particular variety of omega-3 fatty acids, known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is found abundantly in walnuts. In addition, lower blood pressure and cleaner arteries with decreased cholesterol buildup have been linked to diets with high ALA and other omega-3 fatty acid intakes. In the long run, this is especially beneficial for maintaining heart and brain health.