What you eat can make all the difference in how your brain functions and performs. Get to know these super foods to boost brain power!
Keeping your brain healthy is easy when you fill your plate with a colorful variety of fresh wholesome foods. Enhance brain function and mental clarity with these five brain boosting antioxidant-rich superfoods.
Berries pack a powerful nutritional punch! Blueberries, in particular, contain some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit. While the body produces some antioxidants naturally, it relies on dietary sources (primarily fruits and vegetables) to deliver a healthy dose of brain boosting antioxidant defense. Rich in polyphenols and anthocyanins, blueberries are low in calorie and high in nutrients. Research suggests that a diet rich in blueberries may improve both learning and motor capacity skills. For brain boosting benefits, include berries in your diet at least two times a week (approximately ½ cup to ¾ cup serving).
Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber, which is an important component for digestive health. A diet high in fiber helps naturally lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and makes you feel full longer. Chia seeds are high in alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), a type of short-chain omega-3 fatty acid that helps lower the risk of heart disease and boost brain capacity. Your body converts ALA to EPA and DHA (which are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids) which helps support brain and eye health.
Green vegetables are high in antioxidants which act as free radical scavenger and prevents the buildup of potentially harmful compounds in the body. The antioxidants that come from green vegetables prevent cognitive decline, act as potent cancer fighters, help ward off heart disease by protecting the narrowing or hardening of blood vessels, and reduce the growth of fatty plaque deposits that can build up vessel walls over time. Aim to include dark leafy greens like broccoli into your diet every day (approximately 1 cup serving).
Don’t fear the fat! Studies suggest that people who consume nuts daily are leaner than people who don’t. Walnuts are not only nutrient rich, they contain brain-boosting and cardio-protective nutrients such as unsaturated fats, vitamin E, potassium, and phytosterols. Regular consumption of nuts may lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, help with weight management, and moderate swings in blood sugar. Walnuts are a great source of protein, contain healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, and are loaded with dietary fiber. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to accelerated brain function, eye health, skin and hair health, and weight management. Enjoy a ¼ cup serving of nuts five days a week.
For optimal brain health, look for the good kind of fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your total caloric intake, and avoid trans fats! Avocados are incredibly nutritious, containing high levels of fiber, folate, Vitamin K, E, C, B5, and potassium. It’s also one of the few fruits that contains healthy monounsaturated fats, with oleic acid being the most abundantly present. These “good” fats help promote cell development and regulate hormones, and have been linked to improved cholesterol and brain health. Additionally, the healthy fat in avocados provides a wealth of positive nutritional benefits from aiding in weight management and satiety, to enhancing blood flow to the brain!
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: AGNIESZKA BLADZIK
Kim Denkhaus, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in San Francisco, CA and owner of Farm Haus Nutrition a health and lifestyle brand inspiring others to reconnect with food in a sustainable, healthy way that will help them appreciate where their food comes from and empower them to use use whole foods to fuel and nourish their bodies.