We literally are what we eat and the food we consume definitely affects how sharp and clear our thinking is on a day to day basis. Interestingly, two-thirds of our brain is made of fat. Fat is essential to our brain’s health, to produce brain cells. Foods that are high in good omega-3 fats, are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and are anti-inflammatory protect us from brain disease and help increase cognitive ability, understanding, learning, and the ability to stay focused.
Let’s look at some such foods in detail.
- Walnuts are chock full of good fats, antioxidants, and vitamins such as vitamin E that help ward off Alzheimer’s and can boost memory and focus.
- These nuts, ironically shaped like the human brain can naturally increase serotonin levels helping fight depression.
- They are loaded with omega-3 anti-inflammatory fats that help improve focus and concentration.
2. Wild Salmon
- Wild-caught salmon is one of the best brain boosting foods on the planet.
- It’s loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats that are great for our brains.
- Farm-raised salmon is not as good as wild-salmon because, it may be filled with mercury, coloring agents and other toxins which damage our brains.
- Avocados contain healthy brain boosting monounsaturated fat.
- They contain folate along with vitamin K, B, and C which are essential for brain health.
- Folate helps protect against stroke as well as increases brain power.
- They also contain potassium which is essential to mental function and nerve impulses
- Beets are great for mental performance because they contain natural nitrates that increase blood flow to the brain, can help lower blood pressure, fight cancer and increase athletic performance.
- They are rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, manganese and folate.
- Be sure to eat the beet greens along with the beets as they actually contain more iron than spinach and contain a higher nutritional value than the beetroot itself.
- Wild-blueberries are now referred to as “brain berries” because, they’re loaded with antioxidants and brain boosting properties.
- They are one of the highest antioxidant-rich foods and contain gallic acid which helps protect our brains from oxidative stress.
- “New studies have also shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats.”
6. Lion’s Mane
- Is a edible mushroom native to China and Japan that can now be found in most gourmet food stores.
- It has been shown in several studies to greatly enhance cognitive function, memory, recall, and even help reduce anxiety and depression.
- This is because the lion’s mane mushroom can increase nerve growth factor (NGF) a protein that has neuroprotective and neuro-enhancement qualities.
- NGF is essential for growth and survival of neurons, and can help reduce inflammation in the brain, resulting in neuronal growth and brain performance.
- Lion’s mane is traditionally consumed as a tea.
7. Egg Yolks
- Egg Yolks contain high amount of vitamin B-complex, choline, which is essential for brain health.
- Choline aids in concentration and neuron health because it reduces inflammation.
- Choline also helps break down bethane which in return produces those “feel good” hormones serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
- Egg yolks also provide the essential mineral and brain and immune enhancing nutrient zinc.
- Two large egg yolks provide about 230 mgs of choline which is about half the recommended daily amount. Other foods that are rich in choline are dark leafy greens and broccoli.
8. Flax Seeds
- Flax seeds are another great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats which are essential for brain development and function.
- Flax seeds contain a specific type of omega -3 called alpha-linolenic acid that can enhance the cerebral cortex.
- The easiest way to include flax seeds into your diet is by putting them in a superfood smoothie or sprinkling them on a big green salad.
9. Chia Seeds
- Chia seeds contain high amounts of antioxidants and other brain minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.
- They are also an excellent source of plant-based omega 3 essential fats which combat body and brain inflammation.
- Gram for gram chia seeds contain more omega 3s than wild salmon.
10. Dark Chocolate
- Dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or more contains antioxidants called flavonoids which can help improve blood flow to the brain and help reduce inflammation.
- Flavonoids have recently been linked to improved cognitive performance.
- Cocoa also contains theobromine, an alkaloid similar to caffeine which helps improve focus and energy.
- For centuries rosemary had been linked to improving memory.
- Scientist now confirm that rosemary actually is in fact amazing for our memories.
- A recent study found that smelling rosemary essential oil enhanced memory function in participants significantly.
- Also carnosic acid found in rosemary helps protect the brain from neurodegeneration by protecting it from free radicals.
- Rosemary contains high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent brain boosting food.
This week’s healthy in the 21st century challenge is to try incorporating more of these amazing brain boosting foods into your diet.
Let me know in the comments below which foods you’re already eating and which new foods you’re going to try to enhance your mental power!