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.
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 study at Harvard University found that it also reduces a person’s chance of developing depression in people who drink 2-3 cups of coffee a day.
Dark chocolate, like we really needed another excuse! Not only does it contain 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.
Avocado is one of the healthiest fruits available. It is full of monosaturated fats which help keep blood sugar levels level along with vitamins B and C, folate and vitaman K, which helps prevent blood clots and improves brain function.
Bone Broth is noted for being great for the digestion, which in turn benefits the brain. A secondary benefit? It also helps boost the immune system and helps improve joint health.
Eggs, which sometimes get a bad rap, are full of choline, which helps fetal brain development in pregnant women and bethane, which produces hormones that elevate our happiness levels.
Walnuts are a great snack for a midday boost to help avoid that afternoon slump. A Tufts University study found that the relationship between the nuts antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may help the nut boost brain power.