We hardly give a thought to foods that will keep your brain healthy. So, here we discuss some foods that will help the brain to stay younger and smarter for longer than you can think. Read on to find out about brain boosting foods.
When we eat healthy, we put a lot of thought into the food we eat and why we eat them - low carb foods to control blood sugar, a Mediterranean diet for better heart health, low fat-high protein to control the waistline and so on. In this hullabaloo, we forget one major organ - our brain. Nutrition for the brain is also crucial.
You need to include the right foods in your diet to keep your brain active, boost various cognitive functions and slow down the decaying of the grey cells, which is inevitable as one ages.
Wondering which foods to include in your diet? Here goes the list:
Fatty fish: Good news for fish lovers. Fatty fishes are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids - the healthy fat that is needed by the brain for nerve development and functioning. Also, eating fatty fish can lower the levels of beta-amyloid, a protein that leads to brain damage and Alzheimer’s disease. If you are consuming fish more than twice a week, your chances of suffering from memory loss and forgetfulness are lesser than those who don’t eat fish. Surmai, pomfret, banda, rohu, katla, rawas are great sources of omega-3 fatty acid, best for your brain.
Berries: Eating strawberries, blueberries, mulberries - and many other such berries do your brain a whole lot of good. Berries are a great source of antioxidants that prevent inflammation of the brain cells and delay the onset of premature ageing of the brain. They can also provide protection from and other neurodegenerative diseases. Berries are also rich in flavonoids, a plant-based pigment that prevents memory loss and enhances memory power.
Beverages: While you sip on them to feel refreshed and energised, they help your brain cells to revive and rejuvenate. These beverages are gulped with great love and satisfaction by many. We are talking about - coffee and green tea.
The two main components of coffee - caffeine and antioxidants - favour your brain cells a lot. Drinking coffee has several positive effects on the brain - it increases alertness, improves mood (by releasing neurotransmitters like - serotonin), boosts concentration. Drinking coffee for long can also help to reduce the risk of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Like coffee, green tea is rich in antioxidants that keep your brain healthy. But that is not the only reason why green tea is here on the list. Green tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid, which helps in relaxation and reduce anxiety. The polyphenols present in it also helps to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's.
Green leafy vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, fenugreek, beet greens, lettuce, kale all are great for your brain health. Most green vegetables are rich in folate, vitamin K, lutein, and beta carotene, which help slow down the brain's cognitive decline.
Seeds and nuts: They are little powerhouses of antioxidants and vital micronutrients. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, are excellent brain-friendly food. They are packed with zinc, magnesium, copper and iron - micronutrients that prevent premature ageing of the brain and prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases. When it comes to nuts, eat more almonds, walnuts and pecan nuts. The vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids present in them prevents brain cell damage and improves memory too. They provide neuroprotection to keep the brain active beyond one’s age.
Eggs: Choline, a vital micronutrient found in eggs, acts as a mood enhancer and memory booster by stimulating certain neurotransmitters. Eggs are also rich in Vitamin B that slows the process of mental decline in the elderly.
Whole grains: You cannot miss out on your carbs when you are thinking about improving your brain health. Like every cell of your body, your brain cells, too, need carbs to function optimally. Choose carbs with a low-glycemic index; these foods will release glucose into the bloodstream slowly and keep your brain alert and functioning for longer. Consistently having a low-carb diet can lead to brain fog and irritability. Include brown rice, millets, jowar, bajra, ragi, daliya in your diet to keep your brain alert and kicking.
Fruits: Tomatoes (we will argue later why it is in the list of fruits) are a rich source of lycopene. This plant-based antioxidant has neuroprotective properties and can help slow down the process of age-related cognitive decline. Other fruits that are a rich source of lycopene are papaya, watermelon and pink grapefruit.
Another fruit that can do wonders to your brain is - orange. The abundance of vitamin C present in them makes them a brain superfood. Eating sufficient amounts of vitamin C-rich foods can protect against age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dark chocolates: We kept the best one for the last, but don’t go overboard with this one. Dark chocolates are packed with a few brain-boosting compounds, including flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants. They are not just a legitimate mood booster but can help to improve memory and other cognitive abilities. Go take a bite now!
The bottom line is that many foods can keep your brain healthy and prevent age-related cognitive decline. Try and include these foods in your diet plan as much as you can. But also remember to go for a jog, read, do mentally challenging tasks - like solving sudoku, puzzles to keep your brain in good shape.