13 Nov

Foods for Brain Power

Eat these foods for a sharp, young, and healthy mind

Can your diet make you smarter? You bet. Not only does the right diet help to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, or cancer, but health experts are finding that certain foods may boost your mind. Research shows that what you eat is one of the most powerful influences on everyday brain skills. In order to process new information our brain cells need to “talk” to each other. Yet, as we age those cells become inflamed, making it harder for them to communicate with one another.

Stay on top of your mental ball game (and ensure you process all that useful info during your next continuing education course) with these foods:

  • Oily Fish: Seafood like salmon, albacore tuna, trout, mackerel, and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and powerful nutrients that are essential for a healthy mind.  The most effective omega-3 occurs naturally in oily fish as EPA and DHA.
  • Leafy Green and Cruciferous Veggies: Salads, stir-fries,  broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, and brussels sprouts are filled with antioxidants like vitamin C as well as plant compounds called carotenoids, which are particularly powerful brain protectors.
  • Avocado, Oils, Nuts and Seeds: These all contain an important antioxidant:  Vitamin E.  In one study, researchers discovered that people who consumed moderate amounts of vitamin E from food lowered their risk of Alzheimer ’s disease by 67%.
  • Chocolate: Your sweet tooth can also help your brain-boosting diet.  Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which is another class of antioxidants that some research links to brain health.  Some other flavonoid-rich foods include apples, red and purple grapes, red wine, onions, tea, and beer.
  • Curry: Your favorite Thai or Indian takeout often use the potent spice known to fight inflammation. Studies have shown that curry’s active ingredient, curcumin, actually clears away Alzheimer’s.
  •  Berries: These antioxidant powerhouses may protect your brain, although the mechanism isn’t fully understood. Berries provide potent antioxidants known as polyphenols that zap inflammation and encourage communication between neurons, improving our ability to soak up new information.
  • Whole grains: Oatmeal, oat bran, brown rice help to stabilize blood glucose (sugar) levels, compared with refined carbs like white bread and sugary foods.  Since glucose is the brain’s main source of fuel, it’s important to keep levels steady.
  • Coffee:  In excess, it can cause brain fog, but in moderate amounts, caffeine can improve attention span, reaction time, and other brain skills.

Eating well is good for your mental, as well as your physical, health.  By adding these foods to your regular diet your thinking will stay sharp and clear and keep your brain firing on all cylinders. Maintaining a nourishing, well-rounded diet gives our brain the best chance of avoiding disease.

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