What comes to mind when you think of brain food? While daily nutrition fuels your body, there are certain foods, known as “brain foods,” that can help support healthy cognitive function. Brain foods come in all shapes, sizes, and in different food categories. They can be utilized as the main part of your meals or snacks throughout the day, or be taken in supplement form, all while giving you the same brain boosting nourishment. Let’s take a look at some of the foods and ingredients that are known to be powerful foods for your brain.
The Prevalence of Omegas
One of the most popular and potent ingredients for brain health support is the essential fatty acids found in omega-3s. The two specific omega-3s most commonly found in foods and supplements are Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, or EPA and DHA. Foods containing these omega-3s include healthy fish like salmon, halibut, mackerel and tuna. Low levels of DHA have been associated with certain brain concerns, so filling your body’s needs with these omega-3s from your daily diet and supplementation can help your brain and memory stay sharp. Fish oil supplements have also become a popular way to get the necessary omega-3s if seafood is not part of your regular diet.
Great Tasting Brain Food, Who Knew?
Brain foods are anything but boring, and can make any snack double as a way to help aid a sharper memory. Antioxidants are a key part of cellular health, and fighting free radicals is important to cognitive function (Grodstein 2003). Certain fruits and veggies such as blueberries (antioxidants), tomatoes (lycopene), broccoli (vitamin K), and pumpkin seeds (zinc) have all been touted as healthy brain food snacks due to their rich nutritional content.
Another prominent brain enriching snacks are certain types of nuts. At the top of the list for nutty brain health snacks are walnuts. They contain a dose of the omega-3 DHA mentioned above. DHA has been shown to protect brain health, improve cognitive performance in adults, and help slow down age-related cognitive concerns. Other brain friendly nuts include almonds and hazelnuts due to their high vitamin E content, which is a necessary vitamin you need that helps in many areas of daily health but in particular has been associated to help stave off age-related cognitive concerns.
One Last Supplement to Know
Blood flow is important to a healthy brain. For thousands of years the leaves from the Ginkgo Biloba have been used in Chinese medicine. In modern times however, ginkgo has become a popular supplement to support brain health and memory. It has been connected to greater overall blood flow and is also used as an antioxidant. Some studies have connected it to a sharper and quicker memory (WebMD). It has also been said to help slow down age-related cognitive concerns.
Treating the Brain like the Muscle it is
The brain needs exercise just like any other muscle in the body, and the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. That’s why puzzles and games that make you think and remember are always helpful. However, just as your body needs proper nutrition and support, so does your brain. Knowing that you can promote a healthy mind and sharp memory with certain brain foods and supplements can give you a leg up on any concerns and provide you with the mental boost you have been looking for.