Did you know that stimulating your brain and boosting its powers are not only limited by handling or performing some hard/new tasks, calculations and brain games? The good news is, as simple as eating the right kinds of foods for your brain can also do the trick.
Some of the foods we eat could also lessen the chances or prevent us from having Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss and dementia. Researchers also found out that some foods and beverages could actually make your brain cells healthy and make us smarter.
So here are the top 10 foods and beverages that could improve our brain function and make us brighter than ever before.
Our favorite berries could help us improve our short term memory and are a good source of anti-oxidants that could protect from, prevent or lessen brain damaging diseases. It is better if we eat berries every day. We could add it to yogurts, cereals, salads or simply eat as a snack.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and Seeds (like pumpkin seeds) contain vitamin E and zinc, another powerful anti-oxidant that helps develop and improve memory and thinking skills. It could also lower the chances or risk of having Alzheimer’s disease by 67%. It is recommended that we consume these foods in moderation.
Salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, and mackerel are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omegas 3’s are essential to once again decrease the chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease and also a major contributor to the brain’s functions to make it healthy and be at its best. You see, 40 percent of the fatty acids in brain cell membranes are DHA, one of the main omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil–that is why it is an essential nutrient.
For vegans and vegetarians instead of using fishes they use flax oil which could also be a good source of omega-3. Let me just remind you too that consumption of fishes must also be limited to at least twice a week to lessen mercury exposure, especially albacore tuna. The rule that I have learned from watching the documentary film “THE COVE” (which by the way is a MUST-SEE) the bigger the fishes are, the higher the level of mercury it contains.
4. Dark Leafy Greens and Cruciferous Vegetables
Dark Leafy Greens contains folic acids, which is again another essential nutrient for the brain to help boost memory and mental agility. There was a study done on 818 people over the age of 50 for 3 years reported by the Lancet last 20 January 2007 that those people who took or consumed folic acids daily were all found to be better in short term memory, mental agility and verbal fluency than those who took placebo. Spinach, Bok Choy, Collard, Kale and Mustard Greens are just a few examples. You can also get folic acids from other food source.
Cruciferous vegetables as defined in Wikipedia are plants that have the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross. These vegetables are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts etc. They contain vitamin K and Vitamin C to improve brain cells and lessen brain deterioration by as much as 1-2 years.
5. Whole grains
Whole grain foods contain vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid, essential vitamins that improve memory functions, lessen forgetfulness and memory loss. They also help stabilize blood glucose (sugar) and the main source of fuel for the brain for concentration and energy.
Oatmeal, oat bran, brown rice, cereals, whole wheat pasta, wheat bran etc., are among the few whole grain rich foods readily available in the market for our consumption.
Contrary to what some or others may think, eggs are not UNHEALTHY–especially the YOLK. In fact it is quite the opposite. It is actually of one of the most powerful foods around. Eggs contain choline, proteins and lots and lots of other essential vitamins and minerals that help for the proper development and better function of the brain.
Just consume it in moderation. Anything more than the recommended serving for anything is always not a good idea. But it is also not bad to treat yourself every once in a while. You could also try eating some dishes and desserts that contain eggs. For San Antonio residents, you may want to order Leche Flan (an all time favorite dessert in the Philippines) from Gie’s Favourites. Consistency is just right, rich, creamy and best of all not too sweet.
7. Tomatoes and Curry
Tomatoes contain a powerful anti-oxidant, LYCOPENE which protects your brain cells from those damaging free radicals. While curry and its active ingredient called curcumin is known to fight inflammation.
These two (tomatoes and curry) can prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases. In fact there was a study conducted in animals that curry actually clears away Alzheimer’s-causing proteins in the brain known as amyloid plaques. Although more research is needed for humans but at least we are a step closer in finding a cure for the disease.
So next time you eat outside, try eating at either a Thai or Indian restaurant. For San Antonio residents, you may want to check out Mylene Dolores-Salas’ link for some of the “Best Thai Restaurants in San Antonio” and if you opt to cook it yourself, try “Manisha Jadhav’s Indian Recipes” link on Bukisa.
8. Dark Chocolates
For chocolate lovers out there, here’s a treat! Dark Chocolates (those that are at least 70% cocoa) when taken in moderation is good for the brain. It contains flavonoids, another type of anti-oxidant and caffeine that both linked to brain health. Improves focus and concentration that can make you more productive. Love it!
This beverage always has a negative impact on some people. Some believe that coffee is not good for you and bad for your health. Some even go through a more radical approach and pure disapproval to it by NOT drinking or not even considering drinking it at all. The truth is, it is bad for you if you consume it EXCESSIVELY, but in moderation it is actually the opposite.
Caffeine can improve attention span, reaction time, and other brain skills. In a French study back in 2007, they found that women over 65 who drank coffee each day were better able to recall words than women who didn’t. Another review showed that coffee drinkers may cut the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease by up to 30%. Feel free to do some research on the benefits of drinking coffee. There is an article in Yahoo News that featured just that. I mention this every time; “MODERATION is always the way to go”.
10. Water / Alcohol
No doubt that every cell in our body needs water to flourish. In fact, almost 75% of the brain is water. In a study conducted at Ohio University, people who are well hydrated scored better on test of brainpower rather than those who are not drinking enough. So really, we must religiously follow the 6-8 glasses of water per day.
On the other hand, experts pointed out, (although they are not so sure why) that little to moderate consumption of alcohol can protect both the heart and the brain by preventing diseases and blockages in blood vessels. There was a study that people who drink one to six drinks a weeks were 54% less likely to develop dementia than those who didn’t. But you should also check with your doctor if you have history of cancers, other diseases or even pregnant before drinking. My best bet for alcohol if I would drink one is, red wine.
So there you have the top 10 foods and beverages for brain power and health. Now that we know this already, it is going to be easier for us to consume these foods that we often take for granted before and would have a different or second look on foods that we once misunderstood or thought of as unhealthy.
As long as we consume everything in moderation and within the recommended serving, we are on the right track. As much as possible always try to eat a balanced diet. Consult your doctor (and Dietician) if you are allergic to any of the items listed herewith and try to know the alternative suggestion. That way you will still get the benefit while avoiding the negative effect it has on you.
Let’s all start to keep our minds (brain) and body healthy as we age then feel great while doing it.