While there are a number of supplements available to enhance your memory, eating the right foods, particularly whole foods and fiber-rich diets regularly remains the best long-term strategy to keep your mind sharp and brain functioning at its best. In addition to many other nutritional benefits to your overall health, adding the following nutrient-dense super foods to your diet can help boost your brain power.
1. Whole Grains
Although most of the white bread, rice, and pasta are now fortified with vitamins, making a switch to whole grains alternatives such as brown rice, whole oats, or bread made from whole grains that have not been processed or refined in any way can help your brain in a number of ways. Most whole grains are rich in folate, vitamin B12, and magnesium which are important for energy regulation. In addition to the beneficial fiber, they have lower glycemic index and digest slowly to helps maintain a stable blood sugar. Many whole grain products also contain vitamin E as well as some omega-3 fatty acids which helps to prevent oxidative damage and chronic inflammation.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, brazil nuts, filberts, flax seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and a host of others are great sources of essential fatty acids, particularly DHA. These fatty acids have shown to improve memory and cognition. They are also good sources of protein, antioxidants and Vitamin E, which makes many of the nuts and seeds powerhouses for your brain. A handful of these nuts and seeds daily can make a great snack to support and nourish your brain.
Many of the fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sea bass, halibut and sardines are some of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Besides the high quality protein contents, they also have anti-inflammatory properties, which helps protect the brain and support optimum functioning. The deep-water fish generally have higher amounts of the essential fatty acids.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil, a major component of the Mediterranean diet is a rich source of monounsaturated fats that can help to lower your blood cholesterol. These oils are also typically high in vitamin E and polyphenols which helps to protect the body and brain against the ravages of free radical attack. Recent studies have shown that regular use of extra virgin oil can slow down the onset of dementia, by reducing damaging inflammation in the brain.
5. Green Tea
Green tea is a particularly good source of antioxidants, catechins and polyphenols, which can help to prevent premature aging of the brain. Research has also shown that green tea extract enhances cognitive functions and slow down mental fatigue. Do you feel mentally exhausted? Grab a cup of freshly brewed green tea instead of coffee to strengthen your cognitive functions.
Eggs are truly super food with numerous vitamins and minerals. Eggs are particularly rich in vitamin B12, lecithin and choline, which are vital nutrients and building blocks for the brain cells. Deficiency of vitamin B12 has been shown to increase the risk of dementia and other age-related memory loss.
Berries such as blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry, are rich in phytochemical and anthocyanin. The red, purple, or dark blue colors of many of the berries are the result of anthocyanin. These pigments and associated flavonoids are some of the best sources of antioxidants in nature. By helping to protect the brain from oxidative damage, they improve neuronal and cognitive brain functions. Additionally, they possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties which helps also prevent age-related memory decline and improve learning capacity as well as motor skills.
8. Dark Leafy Vegetables
Vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage, are rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, iron and some trace minerals. While many of leafy green vegetables contain antioxidants and precursor for vitamin A, the brightly colored vegetables are rich in phytochemicals. So, the next time you are tempted to reach for that bag of potato chips, try kale chips instead.
Saving the best for the last – now here is the sweet part. If you are asking how eating chocolate can help boost brain power, you are not alone. Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate can actually increase blood flow to the brain, which can help to improve short-term memory and alertness. Dark chocolate are very rich sources of antioxidants and flavonoids. When it comes to the health benefit of chocolate, the darker the better, since they are more nutritious and contains less sugar or added sweeteners. It is important to note that cocoa also contains stimulants such as caffeine, which can also improve alertness and short-term memory. That is not all – chocolates are also generally good sources of endorphins and serotonin, which gives you that feeling of pleasure and relaxation.
What other memory boosting foods would you add to the list. If you have used any supplement or other natural health products to stay alert and improve cognitive functions, we like to learn from you in the comment section below.