3 SUPERFOODS TO BOOST YOUR BRAIN & MEMORY
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
What does the food you eat have to do with how your brain functions? Turns out an awful lot.
While we’ve always known that what we eat affects our bodies and how we look, scientists are also learning more and more that what we eat takes a toll on our brains. Yes, brain foods matter (especially for our gray matter). That's why it's a good idea to keep your brain in peak working condition.
This article lists 3 foods that boost your brain and memory.
1. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, bluefish, sardines, anchovies) contains a blend of nutrients that are perfect for the brain, including omega-3 fats (a brain-must), choline (a B vitamin needed to make memories), vitamins B6 and B12 (needed to support the nervous system), minerals such as iron and magnesium (needed for healthy blood and tissues) and a good amount of protein. Out of the wide variety of fatty fishes, our top favourite is salmon.
A growing number of studies suggest that including salmon in your diet might improve brain function.
Both fatty fish and fish oil have been found to reduce depressive symptoms, protect fetal brain health during pregnancy, decrease anxiety, slow age-related memory loss and lower the risk of dementia (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
In one study of people aged 65 and older, consuming fatty fish at least twice a week was linked to a 13% slower decline in age-related memory issues than consuming fatty fish less than once a week (6).
In another study, people with normal brain function who consumed fatty fish on a regular basis were found to have more grey matter in their brains. Researchers noted that this could reduce their risk of memory problems later in life (7).
2. Seeds, Nuts & Oils
Vegan? Not a problem. Alternative sources of omega-3s include flax seeds, olive oil, almonds, avocados and other plant-based foods.
Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E. Higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. Add an ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini. Raw or roasted doesn't matter, although if you're on a sodium-restricted diet, buy unsalted nuts.
Avocado is a fatty fruit no doubt, but, it's a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. And healthy blood flow means a healthy brain. Avocados also lower blood pressure, and as hypertension is a risk factor for the decline in cognitive abilities, a lower blood pressure should promote brain health. One gentle point to note though is Avocados are high in calories, so adding just 1/4 to 1/2 of an avocado to one daily meal as a side dish is sufficient.
3. Fruits & Vegetables
Yass! We're glad that our favourite type of food is on this list of super brain foods: Fruits & vegetables.
Berries (especially blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries but also dark cherries, goji berries, mulberries) are packed with antioxidants that help keep memory sharp as you age. They are also a great source of fibre and glucose, the main energy source for the brain. They are sweet but have a low glycaemic index so they help regulate sugar levels.
In the end, a brain-healthy diet optimises your capacity for keeping a healthy, sharp and active brain over a lifetime – while reducing the risk of developing age-related cognitive impairments and dementia. As individuals and as a society, we must refocus attention on how our food choices shape our brains, as surely as they shape the rest of us.
So, what are you going to have for dinner tonight?
We'd love to hear from you. What healthy brain foods do you like to eat on a regular basis? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Health is truly wealth. Without it, nothing can be achieved. Take the necessary effort to care for your body and it will bless you in return by getting you to where you want to be.
Lots of love 💚