“You are what you eat” is more than just a mantra to persuade kids to eat their vegetables. The foods you eat have a direct effect on the health of your body, including your brain. If you’re specifically looking to boost your brainpower, some ingredients have better qualities than others.
Research from nutritionists and neuroscientists has provided a clear image of the relationship between nutrition and cognitive health. Below, we’ve compiled the best brain foods out there, as proven by science.
Good: Dark chocolate and berries are foods high in flavonoids
It’s official: chocolate is brain food! Dark chocolate and other cocoa products contain flavonoids, a plant-based compound that aids in memory retention and delays cognitive decline. Flavonoids are also present in red wine and the pigment that gives berries their dark colors. Typically, the darker the fruit, the more flavonoids it contains, so opt for blackberries and cherries in order to obtain the full brain-boosting effects.
Whether you get your daily berry intake through fresh produce or a delicious smoothie, you’re sure to get enough flavonoids to improve your mind over time. Trader Joe’s also sells Freeze Dried Fruit Variety Packs which contain three types of dried berries, a great option for those who are on the go and can’t store fresh produce somewhere throughout the day.
Better: Fatty fish contains large levels of healthy omega 3’s
Fatty fish such as salmon are often at the top of the list when it comes to brain food. Scientists at Harvard Health concluded that the omega 3 fatty acids in fish might encourage the breakdown of the harmful protein that builds up in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. Remember to try to stick with fish species low in mercury, such as salmon, cod, and tuna as opposed to swordfish and ray. Other sources of omega 3s include plant-based oils, nuts, and seeds.
Another easy to get all the omega 3s you need is through a fish oil supplement or other options. Capsules such as Herbtonics Triglyceride Omega 3 Fish Oil 2500 MG Triple Strength Softgels are vegan, easy to swallow, and beneficial to your heart and joints as well as your brain. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen, as they can give you more individualized information about what works best for your body and lifestyle.
Best: Leafy greens and veggies have all kinds of nutrients
As we mentioned before, there’s a good reason every child is lectured about eating their veggies. Not only do they give you the fiber that keeps your digestive system healthy, but they also contain vitamins and minerals such as beta-carotene, vitamin K, and folate which can slow mental decline. Both leafy and stalky vegetables are important to a balanced diet that benefits the brain, so make sure you include a diversity of options in your meal plan.
It can be difficult to stay on top of a healthy diet, but your mind and body will thank you in the long run. The cognitive benefits of eating well can last for the entirety of your life, and it’s never too late to develop these healthy habits. Of course, it’s always best to ask your doctor before making any serious diet changes and your health, but there’s no harm in including a few brain-beneficial foods into your diet in the meantime!
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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