Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a no-brainer brain food. The more colorful the produce, the better it is for your body. Here are some vegetable super foods and how they are great for your noggin:
- Spinach improves learning capacity and motor skills while slowing down age-related brain function.
- Eggplant skin contains a nutrient called nasunin, which improves focus.
- Red cabbage contains the antioxidant polyphenol, which can reduce brain cell damage, and is helpful in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
- Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, which helps enhance cognitive function.
- Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which helps protect against free-radical damage to cells.
- Avocadoes contain mono-unsaturated fat, a good fat that contributes to healthy blood flow.
Eggs are a great source of high-quality proteins and contain the nutrient choline, which boosts the memory center of the brain. The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the yolks. These help prevent age-related eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration.
Foods rich in calcium, such as yogurt, milk, and cheese, improve nerve function. Yogurt helps improve alertness and memory and also contains tyrosin, an amino acid which produces dopamine.
Salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Wild salmon (not farm-raised) is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, like omega-3. This fantastic fish can help improve brain growth and function, promote artery health, and reduce your risk of stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.
Matcha is a finely ground powder of the most revered part of the green tea plant. This is not your ordinary green tea, and it definitely doesn't come in tea bags. The leaf contains antioxidants, catechins, vitamin C and A, fluoride and L-Theanine, which has a calming effect. Matcha also contains Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), known for its anti-cancer, anti-aging, and overall health benefits.
Acai Berries & Blueberries
Acai berries not only possess higher amounts of antioxidants than any other berry, they are also high in protein and contain essential fatty acids like omega-3s. Then there is the blueberry, or "brainberry," which helps to improve motor skills and learning capacity. Research has also shown that blueberries reduce the effects of Alzheimer's, dementia, and can actually reverse brain decline and improve memory. Cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also high in brain-boosting benefits.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with Vitamin E and can improve cognitive function. Here are a couple of the best bets:
- Walnuts even look like tiny brains! Protein-packed walnuts contain vitamin E and B6, which are great for your nervous system, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help brain function. Walnuts are also believed to correct serotonin levels, which control our mood and appetite. This magical nut can help relieve insomnia, depression, overeating, and compulsive behavior.
- Cashews are high in magnesium, known to open up the blood vessels in your body. More oxygen-rich blood equals better brain function.
- Almonds are high in riboflavin, known to boost memory. This nut also contains phenylalanine, which can generate natural mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine.
- Pecans and peanuts are rich in choline, a nutrient important for memory, brain function, and development.
- Sunflower seeds can increase memory and cognitive function and are high in thiamine and vitamin B, and contain tryptophan, an amino acid that the brain converts to serotonin, which relieves mild depression and insomnia.
- Pumpkin seeds are a power food packed with zinc, vitamins A and E, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Zinc is known to enhance memory and thinking skills.
Coffee is a misunderstood part of the morning routine. The coffee bean is rich with antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Regular coffee consumption has been shown to reduce the risk of mental decline and diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's. The health benefits are negated when coffee is loaded with artificial creamers, sweeteners, and flavors. But when consumed in a form like pure Espresso, coffee is full of brain and health-friendly benefits.
Cacao Beans/Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is tricky when it comes to brain boosters. When the cacao bean is minimally processed it's packed full of antioxidants, flavonoids, catechins, and theobromine, which increases cognitive function and enhances mood. Most candy and chocolate bars contain low levels of cacao and the processing completely eliminates the healthy elements. If you want the most out of your chocolate choose 100% organic non-alkalized cocoa powder or high cacao percentage dark chocolate bars.
The brain is dependent on glucose for fuel, but can't store glucose. That is where beans come in. Beans stabilize glucose levels in the brain, providing a steady stream of energy. Beans are also an excellent source of fiber.