It’s no secret that what we eat affects our physical and mental health. But did you know that what we eat can also boost our brainpower? As one of the MVPs of our bodies, controlling everything from blood flow to our breathing, our brains deserve all the TLC they can get, and what we feed our body impacts how well our brain’s function and can have short and long-term benefits.
If you’re wondering what foods you can eat for optimal brain health, read on to learn more.
Blueberries and other richly colored berries contain plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help prevent brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases. They are also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Berries can help improve communication between brain cells, memory, and some cognitive processes, help memory retention, and feed the gut microbiomes that reduce brain inflammation. Berries can reduce anxiety and help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.
2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content is loaded with compounds that boost brainpower, including flavonoids, antioxidants, caffeine, and fiber that prevents brain inflammation. And while it’s known to enhance our memory and slow mental decline as we age, it’s also a mood booster.
But before you add too much dark chocolate into your diet, the recommended amount for consumption is only about 45g per week.
Eggs are another brain booster, containing choline, a micronutrient that your body converts into acetylcholine, a mood-regulating, memory aiding neurotransmitter. Choline can lower homocysteine, an amino acid possibly linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Eggs also pack the following beneficial nutrients.
- Vitamins B6 and B12 help with brain development and lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.
- Folic acid aids the nervous system in mood and cognitive function.
- Lutein leads to better cognition in memory, language, and learning.
- Eggs provide the brain with cholesterol it needs to function as it should.
4. Fatty Fish
Our brains are almost 60% fat, half of which is made up of Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s no surprise, then, that fatty fish makes most lists of brain-healthy foods. The Omega-3s in fish help the brain generate cells, aid in learning and memory, and slow age-related cognitive decline. On the other hand, not getting enough Omega 3s is linked to learning impairment and emotional issues like depression.
And the great news is that these fatty fish offer more than just Omega 3s. They also provide Vitamins D and B, calcium, phosphorus, and minerals like iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. The best fish to add to your diet includes salmon, sardines, herring, and albacore tuna.
5. Fermented Foods
To feed your brain well, be mindful of the gut-brain connection. Fermented foods introduce food to microorganisms that feed on the food’s sugars, creating lactic acid that generates gut-helping bacteria. By improving our gut health, we can improve our cognition too.
Try these fermented foods:
- Miso soup
- Aged/raw cheese
Check the food labels on what you eat to ensure they are truly fermented, usually indicated by a label stating “live active cultures.”
We Want to Guide You to Your Best Life Yet
In addition to incorporating these smart food choices into your diet, you can help your brain by getting enough sleep, exercising, drinking enough water, reducing stress through effective mindfulness techniques, and reducing alcohol consumption.
At Faithfully Guided, we love your brain and recognize it as monumentally important for our whole-person approach to healing. When you’re ready to start your journey to your most abundant life, reach out to our team.