As a society, we have known about how our diet affects our heart for awhile. However, it is only recently that we have begun to realize just how much our diet also affects the brain. The list below is 13 foods that are great for the brain that you should be eating every week.
Although health experts and FDA recommends servings in daily increments, it is hard to fit all this food in on one day. Having weekly servings of the following foods is fine and will help your brain function better.
Fish are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Not only are they super rich in lean non-artery clogging protein, many types are abundant in brain-healthy omega-3 fats. Omega-3s are thought to fight depression, bipolar disease, and possibly dementia. The FDA recommends eating Omega-3 rich fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and tuna two to three times per week.
2. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are well recognized for their heart disease reducing vitamins and minerals; however, they are also a healthy brain food as they contain vitamin E. Vitamin E defends nerve cells and neurons in the brain. This can be especially helpful for those with Alzheimer’s disease, as neurons in the brain begin to die. Nuts are high in fats and should be eaten in moderation. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 1.5 ounces per day is recommended.
3. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin E, and folate. Folate is integral for brain wellness and lowers the likelihood of a stroke. It reduces the occurrences of homocysteine, a nerve cells murdering amino-acid. Essential for maintaining brain functions and mental agility, green leafy vegetables should be eaten at every meal.
Adding this superfood to a diet increases the intake of vitamins C and E and reduces hypertension. High blood pressure, aka hypertension, is a risk factor for cognitive decline. A healthy blood flow increases cardiovascular health and is essential to brain wellness. Avocados are high in fat and calories and it is therefore recommended that intake be limited to ½ an avocado a day.
If they weren’t blue, we would call them brainberries. These little powerhouses protect the brain from free radicals, reduce the occurrences of dementia, improve motor skills, and increase learning capacity and memory. Add at least 1 cup of blueberries per day to maintain a healthy brain.
6. Whole Grains
This mammoth of the health food craze, is high in fiber, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids. Not only do they improve cardiovascular health and reduce inflammation, whole grains also promote healthy blood flow to the brain.
7. Freshly Brewed Green Tea
Green tea (more than any other type of tea) is loaded with nutrients and catechines. Catechines are a type of disease fighting flavonoid and antioxidant that promotes healthy blood flow. However, bottled and powdered teas do not contain the same concentration of catechines as freshly brewed. Drink two cups a day to boost brain power and focus.
Turmeric can boost regeneration of brain cells. It contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, improve symptoms of Parkinson’s, and to reduce the damage done by a stroke. Ideal dosage is around 1 teaspoon per day.
Garlic is one of the world’s healthiest foods. It boosts the immune system, reduces blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, protects against dementia, and can even protect against brain cancer. With all these benefits, why would anyone not want to eat the recommended four cloves a day?
Oysters are well-known for enhancing sexual appetite, but they also serve as food for the brain. They contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids and the brain stimulating minerals selenium, magnesium, and zinc. Oysters can increase mental concentration and reduce memory lapses. The FDA recommends that oysters be eaten in moderation because of their moderately high cholesterol content.
11. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been found to delay brain aging, prevent memory loss, lessen depression symptoms, and offer relief from anxiety and symptoms of stress. The best way to add coconut oil to a diet is to substitute it for vegetable oils, butter, or lard. Two tablespoons per day is all that is need to reap the benefits of this healthy oil.
A diet rich in spinach can keep the brain sharp even into old age. It contains vitamin C and antioxidants that reduce blood toxins, decrease instances of cancer, and lessen the probability of stroke. Aim for ½ cup fresh spinach every day to gain full benefit.
13. Low-fat Yogurt
Yogurt’s is known to contain bone strengthening calcium, blood pressure reducing potassium, and colon cleansing probiotics, but it might be good for your brain too. In a recent study, probiotic yogurt increased the cognitive functions of women in just four weeks. In another study, of 432 men and 751 middle-aged women, low fat dairy was shown to have beneficial effects on social functioning, stress, and memory. For a healthy diet, eat or drink four ounces twice daily.
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