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Top 10 Brain Foods

Posted on February 17, 2013 | No Comments on Top 10 Brain Foods

We all know that when we eat food, it nourishes the body and it gives us energy that we need. But aside from that, food can work in many ways; it can even affect brain activity. You may often hear that chocolates and nuts are the most common sources for enhancing brain activity.

Try to add other foods to your list which can help you boost memory and enhance brain performance. Foods listed here are suitable for people with diabetes, but they should be guided on the proper amounts to be consumed. It is best advised that they should consult their dietitians on how to plan each serving size and how much they should eat.

  1. Whole Grains – Whole grains are rich in folate which can help stimulate the brain. Folate is important for proper functioning of the nervous system at all ages. Folate deficiency is associated with depression and dementia. It is suggested that to prevent the risk of having such defects, a consumption of 400ug per day or higher is recommended. Whole grains include oatmeal, bulgur (cracked wheat), whole wheat flour, brown rice, etc.
  2. Salmon – Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon provide many benefits including improved learning and memory and helping to fight against mental disorders. The omega-3 fatty acids support the synaptic plasticity and seem to positively affect the expression of several molecules related to learning and memory that are found on synapse. It is essential for normal brain function. Dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acid is one of the best-studied interactions between food and brain evolution. Docosahexanoic acid (DHA) is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in cell membranes in the brain. However, the human body is not efficient at synthesizing DHA, so we are largely dependent on dietary DHA.
  3. Tomatoes – Carotenoids found in tomatoes protect fat in the body, which is very important for brain functions, since our brain is mainly made of fat. Like all carotenoids, lycopene and beta-carotene are powerful antioxidants. They eliminate free radicals helping avoid the root cause of inflammation.Our brain is vulnerable to attack from free radicals, so a consumption of tomatoes a day is one of the most economical ways to increase your intake of brain-protecting class of plant nutrients.
  4. Dark Chocolate – There is a number of benefits that we can get from eating dark chocolates. Dark chocolates are rich in flavonols which boost blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours. Increased blood flow to these areas of the brain may help to increase performance in specific tasks and boost general alertness over a short period (Macdonald, 2007). Dark chocolate also contains phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier. Dark chocolates have low glycemic index, so eating it would not cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels if not taken excessively.
  5. Nuts – People who eat nuts hove increased levels of serotonin. Serotonin helps a person feel better and be less likely to suffer from depression and poor mood. It is a neurotransmitter released by neurons in the brain. It is thought of as a “happy” neurotransmitter. Sufficient amount of it bathes neurons in the brain chemicals that help promote feelings of comfort, contentment and well-being. Nuts also have high polyphenol content which may reduce inflammation of the brain. Inflammation can lead to accelerated brain aging and cognitive decline.
  6. Pumpkin Seeds – For people with high levels of cholesterol, pumpkin seeds can be beneficial; it contains phytosterols which reduce the levels of harmful cholesterol in the blood vessels. Pumpkin seeds contain omega-3 and 6 fatty acids which are found essential for normal brain function and sharper memory. They also contain high amounts of magnesium, found to have a calming effect on the brain. These seeds also have anti-depressant properties, so it can elevate mood.
  7. Green Tea – Antioxidants found in green tea protect neurons in our brain by keeping blood vessels supple and open, ensuring the flow of nutrients to the brain. So why not indulge yourself by consuming green tea as part of your everyday drink? You con also benefit from its diuretic effect which could help you control your blood pressure.
  8. Broccoli – Broccoli contains high amounts of potassium. Potassium channels play a key role in maintaining the electrical conductivity of the brain and affect brain function. Potassium is also involved in higher brain function like memory and learning. In addition, serious ailments like epilepsy ore related to the functioning of potassium channels. You may also want to add citrus fruits and other green leafy vegetable to supply an adequate amount of potassium to your diet.
  9. Avocados – Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which is a healthy fat. Monounsaturated fats decrease bad LDL cholesterol. Avocados may improve blood flow and prevent hardening of blood vessels, reducing the risk for stroke. Eating avocados can also improve cognitive function, such as memory and concentration. Avocados are high in calories, so be sure to have it computed by your dietitian on your meal plan. Experts suggest adding 1/4 to 1/2 of an avocado to one daily meal as side dish.
  10. Strawberries – The antioxidant anthocyanin found in deep red pigments such as strawberry can help protect our brain cells,and the neuron’s ability to respond to chemical messengers, and discourage the formation of blood clotting. Be sure to consult your dietitians on how many strawberries you can eat for a day.

Good performance depends on how well our brain functions. Our brain affects our thinking, mood, and overall health. So feed your brain with all the better food choices and it wilt work well on your way to achieve excellence and intelligence.

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