The brain is an essential part of your body. It’s the reason why you’re living and breathing right now — it controls every function from your head to your toes. A health-conscious individual like you practices beneficial habits to keep yourself in tip-top shape, but what are you doing specifically to support brain functioning? Obtaining a healthier mind and sharper memory is as simple as increasing your intake of certain foods.
Having a good memory is convenient for beating your friends at cognitive-based games, but it also reduces your chances for encountering degenerative brain diseases down the line. Doesn’t everyone want an agile mind to carry them gracefully into old age? Keep reading to discover some valuable foods you should incorporate into your daily diet.
Berries of the dark variety — such as blueberries and blackberries — contain anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Inflammation and oxidative stress within the body can cause tissue damage to the brain and encourage neurological disease. Consuming foods rich in flavonoids prevents these issues, protecting your mind against memory-damaging agents.
Studies have found that antioxidants present in berries can improve cell communication and increase brain plasticity. This enables your mind to form new cell connections and adapt to changes. Your brain doesn’t stop developing after adolescence — it continues growing and forging pathways throughout your life, as long as you keep it healthy.
You can eat berries frozen, dried or straight from the bush — they provide the same memory-boosting benefits no matter the form.
2. Leafy Greens
Green vegetables like kale, broccoli and spinach contain vitamin K and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Vitamin K can improve memory due to its ability to form sphingolipids, which are fat cells within the brain. Sphingolipids play vital roles in facilitating neuron creation . The higher their concentration, the more efficient your cognitive processes will be. A lack of them can cause diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Leafy greens also feed you B vitamin folate, which aids in forming DNA and keeping your vascular system healthy . Vascular diseases can affect blood vessels carrying blood to the brain and spinal cord.
Next time you make a bag of trail mix, pop in a few walnuts and Brazil nuts. They contain high concentrations of vitamin E, which shields your brain from oxidative stress. If you enjoy seeds, try sunflower. These also provide a sufficient dose of vitamin E. Brazil nuts are a healthy and delicious source of selenium, which heightens antioxidant activity and prevents cognitive decline . Because of their high levels of nutrients and minerals, nuts are known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains contain significant amounts of vitamin E and choline, both of which contribute to good brain health. Choline exists within the human liver and helps produce neurotransmitters essential to mood, memory and other brain functions . It also encourages early brain development in babies and children. Human bodies don’t generate enough of it to survive on, so people must supplement it by eating specific foods. Quinoa offers 43 mg of choline per serving, while brown rice contains 19 mg per serving.
Avocados provide a rich source of unsaturated fats and the antioxidant lutein, which has a connection to improved cognition. Scientists conducted a study on 48 adults where they instructed the subjects to eat a serving of avocados, chickpeas or potatoes daily for six months . At the trial’s end, the avocado group displayed improved spatial working memory and problem-solving skills, and their sustained attention increased.
Scientists concluded that eating avocados can significantly increase lutein and HDL levels. You may know HDL more commonly as “good cholesterol” — it lowers your risk for heart disease and reduces bad cholesterol .
A Healthy Lifestyle for Better Memory
Diet is vital in improving health, but it’s necessary to note the importance of physical activity as well. In fact, exercise can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 50 percent ! If you’re new to it, there are fun options available for building routines into your lifestyle. Swimming is a great way to get mobile while socializing with others and enjoying a fun time at the pool. Or you can strap on some sneakers and try running or cycling a few minutes each day.
Now that you’ve found some memory-boosting foods and healthy lifestyle tips, you can increase your intake of the optimal foods that you don’t eat as often. Mix up a colorful salad of leafy greens and avocados, or cook a whole-grain pasta topped with nuts. Explore your cooking creativity while keeping yourself healthy and sharp!