10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

As you are no doubt aware, the brain is one of the most important organs in the human body, yet for all sorts of different reasons, people often overlook it and instead tend to focus on and prioritize other organs. 

Now, don’t get us wrong, the heart is a very important organ, and looking after it is essential, but for the same reasons that we take part in cardiovascular exercise to strengthen the heart, we should also find ways of strengthening and boosting our brainpower. 

While we can’t just hop on a treadmill or go for a run to directly improve our brain health, we can boost brainpower in other ways. As far as looking after the brain is concerned, following the right diet and lifestyle is essential, which is what we’re looking at today. The brain is basically the CPU of the human body, and if it suffers, the body suffers as a result. The good news is that cleaning up your diet and consuming the right foods can work wonders for your brain and your mental health in general. 

To help ensure that your brain is healthy and in full working order, here’s a look at 10 foods that boost brainpower. 

1. Blueberries

10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

There’s are reasons why blueberries are considered to be a superfood, and one of those reasons is the fact that blueberries are loaded so full of antioxidants. 

Blueberries are a fruit that is low in naturally occurring fructose sugars, and loaded full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Blueberries help to protect the cells and can help prevent illness and disease. Not only that, but they can also protect the brain and improve brain health. 

Experts have found evidence which suggests that blueberries can help to prevent short-term memory loss and improve memory in general. One of the reasons why blueberries are considered so beneficial for brain health is because the antioxidants which are known as anthocyanins, help to protect the brain cells from oxidative stress and damage by free radicals. The healthier the brain cells are, the healthier the brain will be as a result. 

2. Coffee

10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

Okay, technically coffee isn’t a food, although you can cook with it, but even so, coffee is still wonderful for brain health and function. 

Coffee contains caffeine and antioxidants, which both work together to help boost brain health and function. 

Caffeine for example, is a natural stimulant which increases mental alertness. It does this by blocking a chemical messenger known as adenosine, which naturally causes feelings of tiredness and fatigue. Caffeine also improves mental focus by helping you to concentrate more, plus it can increase dopamine production, which makes you feel good. 

The antioxidants in coffee, much like those found in blueberries, help to protect the brain cells and keep the brain healthy and firing on all cylinders, as it were. 

It is worth noting that too much caffeine can affect your sleep and can cause feelings of anxiety, so try to limit your caffeine/coffee consumption, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine. 

3. Broccoli

10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

Broccoli is another superfood on our list today that is hugely beneficial for our health in general, especially where the brain is concerned. 

This green cruciferous vegetable is a member of the cabbage family and is loaded full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As you now know, antioxidants help to protect our brain cells by preventing oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. The vitamins in broccoli however, also provide brain health benefits. 

Broccoli is packed full of vitamins, including vitamin K. Vitamin K is fat soluble and is needed by the body to form what are known as sphingolipids. Sphingolipids are a unique type of fat which are packed into cells in the brain and are used for energy. 

Studies have linked elevated vitamin K levels with increased levels of cognitive health and function. Broccoli also contains anti-inflammatory compounds which help keep brain cells strong and healthy. 

So, not only does broccoli strengthen and boost the immune system, it can also improve the health and function of your brain, so be sure to include plenty of this delicious green veggie in your everyday diet.

4. Dark chocolate

10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

No, your eyes do not deceive you, we are indeed endorsing chocolate in an article focussed on health and wellbeing. 

Now, before you get too excited, we are looking solely at dark chocolate here, and in sensible amounts. 

Dark chocolate is considered a superfood and amongst its many health benefits is the fact that it is great for the brain. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are loaded full of brain-boosting compounds including antioxidants, caffeine, and flavonoids. 

The flavonoids found in dark chocolate are particularly impressive when it comes to cognitive health and function, as they are found in a group of antioxidant plant compounds. These flavonoids have been found to congregate in areas of the brain responsible for learning and memory. 

Not only do these flavonoids improve memory and learning, there is also evidence to suggest that they help to reduce age-related cognitive impairment as people grow older.

You also all know how great chocolate tastes and how great it makes you feel when you eat it, and this is all down to dopamine. Eating chocolate triggers pleasure responses in the brain which result in the production of endorphins such as dopamine.

When choosing a dark chocolate for improving your brain health, look for a chocolate with at least a 70% cocoa content, though the higher the cocoa content, the healthier the chocolate will be. 

5. Avocados

10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

Avocado is known as ‘nature’s butter’ because when ripe, it has a smooth, rich, and creamy texture that is similar to butter. 

Avocados are very healthy because they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. In fact, avocados are considered to be one of the healthiest fat sources in the entire world. 

Avocados are enriched with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which are incredibly good for us. Not only do these fats improve cardiovascular health however, they also help to improve brainpower and function as well. 

Monounsaturated fats provide numerous health benefits, including lowering your blood pressure. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, has been linked with poor brain health and declining cognitive function in general. Therefore, eating monounsaturated fats which reduce blood pressure can help to improve brain health and prevent damage to the brain caused by inflammation. 

Avocados are also packed full of antioxidants and vitamins, including vitamin K, and we’ve looked at how they improve brainpower several times already in this article. 

6. Eggs

10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

Believe it or not, but whole eggs are also fantastic when it comes to cognitive health and function. 

Eggs may be rich in protein and amino acids, but it isn’t just bodybuilders and people looking to bulk up and build muscle that should consume them, as eggs have so much more to offer. 

Eggs are packed full of natural goodness that has been found to be particularly beneficial for the brain, including vitamins B6 and B12, along with folate and with choline. Choline is especially noteworthy here, as it is used by the body to create a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which helps to regulate memory and mood. 

Studies have found that elevated levels of choline in the body can lead to improved cognitive function such as a better short and long-term memory, plus a better mood as well. 

When consuming eggs, make sure they’re whole eggs and much of the choline in eggs is found within the yolks. Also, look for organic free-range eggs if possible, and avoid eggs from caged hens at all costs. Eggs from caged hens, also known as battery eggs, are lacking in taste and in nutritional content. 

7. Tomatoes

10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

Tomatoes don’t just taste great on a BLT, they’re also wonderful for people looking to improve their mental health and wellbeing as well. 

Tomatoes are a great source of an antioxidant known as lycopene. Lycopene is responsible for giving tomatoes their deep, vibrant red colour and there is evidence to suggest that it can help protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals during the early stages of dementia. 

Put simply, the lycopene in tomatoes helps to protect your brain cells and can help to prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease. 

The body finds it easier to absorb lycopene from cooked tomatoes, so in order for you to enjoy the maximum health benefits of lycopene, make sure you cook your tomatoes first. 

8. Pumpkin seeds

10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

Remember how every October when scooping the flesh out of your pumpkin before carving it, you would discard hundreds of pumpkin seeds? Well, this year, after reading this, you might want to hold on to them, or pick some pumpkin seeds up at your nearest grocery store. 

Pumpkin seeds are great for your health as they are loaded full of minerals, especially zinc. Zinc is the star of the show here due to the fact that it is essential for cognitive function, especially when it comes to problem solving, memory, and thinking skills in general. 

Pumpkin seeds also contain magnesium which helps to promote feelings of relaxation and calmness, along with B vitamins which increase energy production. 

Eating pumpkin seeds will not only improve your brainpower and function, it will also lift your mood too. This is because pumpkin seeds are enriched with naturally high levels of tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that serves as a natural precursor for serotonin, which is an endorphin that puts people in a good mood. 

Pumpkin seeds can be eaten as a snack, sprinkled over salads and yoghurts, or even blended into a smoothie if your blender is powerful enough. 

9. Nuts

10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

Nuts are not only great sources of healthy fats, they’re also great sources of the fat soluble vitamin, vitamin E. 

Vitamin E has been found to boost cognitive function and people with natural vitamin E deficiencies generally suffer with elevated levels of cognitive decline. 

As well as that, nuts can also increase heart health markers, which themselves can boost mental health because a healthy heart has been linked with a healthy brain, and vice versa. 

The vitamin E and antioxidants found in nuts has been proven to help protect the brain cells from free-radical damage and oxidative stress, which helps to suppress cognitive decline, especially as people grow older.

While virtually all nuts are great for the brain, walnuts have been found to be particularly beneficial as they contain large volumes of the essential amino acid L-Tryptophan, which we just looked at. As an added bonus, they also contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which makes them ideal. 

Speaking of omega-3 fatty acids…

10. Oily fish

10 Foods that Boost Brainpower

Finally, last, but by no means least, we have oily fish.

Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, and anchovies are sometimes referred to as brain food, so that alone should show you just how beneficial they are in terms of cognitive health and function. 

Roughly 60% of the brain is comprised of fat, and half of these fats are omega-3 fatty acids. The brain utilizes these essential fatty acids to construct brain and nerve cells, making them essential for the brain, learning, memory, and cognitive health and function in general. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are also anti-inflammatories so they can help to protect the brain cells from damage caused as a result of inflammation. As if that wasn’t enough, they can also reduce age-related mental decline and can reduce a person’s risk of suffering from dementia later on in life. 

Research has found direct links between omega-3 deficiencies and poor mental health such as anxiety and depression, along with learning impairments. 

Put very simply, omega-3 fatty acids are extremely beneficial and oily fish should therefore be consumed as part of a healthy and balanced diet. 

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