Brain Health

Eating for Brain Health

January 16, 2019

You hear this often from a lot of people that many illnesses or disorders are due to stress, and this statement is super true. Whether we are stressed out with a nearing deadline at work or a family financial problem, our bodies react to these stressors by releasing cytokines. These chemicals will act as a trigger and signal our immune system to protect the body from the stress by inflammation. Despite the fact that inflammation acts as a sort of shield from stresses when inflammation happens most of the time, then it will not be healthy anymore as it will be a root cause for anxiety, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure as well as brain diseases.

Food and Brain Health

Many studies nowadays indicate that having superfoods in your daily diet is important to protect us from many illnesses and to keep our minds sharp. Most of these superfoods are plant-based which make them very friendly to vegans and vegetarians. However, to those who are not a fan of vegetables and fruits, superfoods also include fish and dairy items that they can enjoy.

So the question now is can you really eat your way to a sharp mind and a healthy brain? The answer is a big YES. By including these superfoods, you can keep your brain sharp at all times and will help alleviate brain deterioration due to aging as they are rich in nutrients that are truly needed by our body. To help you learn more about eating and brain health, here are some of the superfoods to try to boost your mental health and brain functions such as concentration and memory.

Fatty Fish

Trout, salmon, sardines and other fatty fish are rich in omega-3 which makes them very nutritious and helpful for learning. Aside from memory, emotion, decision making, learning and focus, fatty fish are proven by medical experts to be effective in slowing brain decline and diseases due to aging such as Alzheimer’s disease. Research also showed that inadequate omega-3s can cause depression and learning impairments.

Blueberries

Who does not love blueberries? Rich in anthocyanins, blueberries contribute a lot to our brain health. These fruits contain antioxidants that are helpful to alleviate neurodegenerative illnesses and aging. In addition, research shows that the superfood boosts the brain cells communication resulting to improved memory.

Broccoli

Like blueberries, broccoli is also rich in antioxidants as well as vitamin K which play an important role in the development of a kind of fat known as sphingolipids that are needed by the brain. Studies conducted by many experts have proven the association of better memory with more vitamin K intake. In addition to vitamin K, broccoli has anti-inflammatory effects that ensure the brain is protected from damages.

Coffee

Are you a coffee lover? If you are like me who seems to can’t function and work well without coffee, then you are right in thinking that coffee contributes to our brain health. This is because coffee is rich in antioxidants and caffeine that boost our alertness. It works as caffeine prevents adenosine from functioning which triggers our being sleepy.

Aside from alertness, another help that we can get from coffee is it enhances our mood as it stimulates serotonin and other neurotransmitters that are responsible for a feel-good emotion. Among all, coffee helps us have better concentration and have lessened risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric

Many studies today are focused on the health benefits that we can get from turmeric. One of the common spices in Indian dishes, turmeric has curcumin which can directly benefit the brain cells. Improving our memory is just one of the many benefits that we can get from turmeric. Aside from this, turmeric is helpful in easing depression as it triggers dopamine and serotonin. Above all, curcumin is essential to stimulate the growth of brain cells which is crucial to postpone decline in mental health.

Pumpkin Seeds

Perfect for those who are in search of a superfood that could help address radical damage in the brain, pumpkin seeds are a good source of iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium. Having sufficient zinc in our body is important to promote nerve signaling. A lot of clinical studies have proven that zinc deficiency is associated with depression, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain conditions.

Meanwhile, magnesium which is also present in pumpkin seeds is significant to promote memory and learning. Some brain diseases that are related to magnesium deficiency are epilepsy and migraines. Moreover, if you are aiming to boost the ability of your brain to send and receive nerve signals, then pumpkin seeds are the best food for you as it has copper that also decreases one’s risk of having neurodegenerative diseases.

Dark Chocolate

For all the sweet tooth out there, then there is a superfood that you will truly love. Dark chocolate has flavonoids that help delay brain health decline as well as boost our memory. Research which was participated by 900 individuals showed that the group who rarely eat dark chocolate has low memory levels as compared to those who were frequently intaking the chocolate.

If you are familiar with the Harry Potter movies, then what is portrayed in the movie that chocolates help alleviate the sad feelings conjured by dementors is true. A separate medical study has proven this as better positive feelings were seen in participants who were given with dark chocolate as compared to those who just received crackers.

Nuts

Nuts are very popular as these are rich in nutrients and compounds that can truly be beneficial to our health. Proven to be effective in ensuring a healthy heart, nuts are also important to promote brain health. Research conducted in 2014 found that our brain functioning and cognition can be improved with the regular intake of nuts. Above all,

It also proved that vitamin E, antioxidants and healthy fats which are found in nuts help people have better focus or concentration and also a sharper mind as these components are capable of protecting the nerve cells from mental decline due to free radical injuries in the brain.