You may be taking care of your body, but are you taking care of your brain as well? The brain is vital for everyday functions, yet few pay close attention to it. Fifty-three percent of adults believe brain fitness can be improved a lot. But only 10 percent consider it a top priority compared to other health issues.
A great place to start is with our diet. Small dietary changes can help boost our cognitive ability with minimal efforts. These super foods identified by researchers can help memory, concentration and focus and most are healthy for the rest of our body as well. By incorporating a few of these natural resources a day, we can ensure that our brains are getting exactly what they’re craving.
Oily fish, like salmon, mackerel or trout help improve memory and keep us sharp. A New Zealand study found that the DHA-rich food improved both short-term and long-term memory.
Blueberries, which are rich in antioxidants and polyphenolics, improve short-term memory and concentration according to a study completed at Tufts University. The berries can help clear away toxins that tend to accumulate in the brain. Researcher, Dr. Shibu Poulose refers to these colorful summer treats as the brain’s natural housekeepers.
Used regularly to add a little flavor, sage has also been found to give our brain’s short-term memory and recall ability a boost while also promoting the connectivity between different areas of the brain. Of note, sage also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Spinach, rich in antioxidants that help clear out the brain’s toxins has long been recognized as a great source of brain health. The Tufts study, however, found that students who consistently ate more spinach performed better on tests that measured memory and learning ability.
Water is about as simple and clean as a food or beverage can be – and it seems nature gave it to us for a reason. Staying hydrated helps memory, reasoning, attention span and concentration while flushing those unwanted toxins away.
Tomatoes are full of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect against the free radical cell damage common in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Caffeine it seems isn’t all bad after all. We know it can boost concentration and focus, but a 2011 study at Harvard University found that it also reduces a person’s chance of developing depression in people who drank 2-3 cups of coffee a day; 20 percent in those who drank 4 cups per day.
Dark chocolate, like we really needed another excuse, not only contains caffeine, which improves mental acuity and focus, but it is also packed full of flavonoids, which are effective at increasing blood flow. The more blood flow, the more oxygen our brain is getting, so across the board, blood flow equals increased brain function.