Boost your brain and memory with food
As research has shown, your brain makes up 2% of your body weight, but it consumes 20% of the oxygen and blood in your body at any given time. Additionally, your brain uses about 20% of the glucose that enters your bloodstream, which has led researchers to hypothesize that food can help boost memory retention and increase focus. Here are some foods you can eat to improve memory, reduce cognitive decline, and improve overall brain function.
Foods that increase brain power
A few foods have been linked to a boost in cognitive ability. These include:
- Blueberries have been found to increase communication between neurons, leading to better memory.
- Avocados contain high levels of glutathione, an antioxidant associated with improved cognitive function and enhanced learning capabilities.
- Walnuts contain alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which has been shown to reduce mental fatigue.
- Green Tea may also increase brain power. Studies have found that people who drink green tea for four weeks scored higher on verbal fluency tests. The improvement was about 9%, which is comparable to results seen from coffee consumption.
Foods that support memory formation
While there are no magical supplements or food items that can instantly boost your memory, certain foods do support our memory. These include produce like leafy greens (cruciferous vegetables), eggs, legumes (beans), fish, seafood, olive oil, dark chocolate, nuts, fruits like berries and citrus fruits. All of these should be consumed on a regular basis in order to keep both short-term and long-term memories strong.
Research has also found that those who lack vitamin B12 have poorer memory. Fortunately, getting enough B12 is easy as supplements and fortified foods are widely available. Vegans and vegetarians should be particularly mindful of their vitamin B12 intake as B12 is mainly found in animal produce.
Checking your B12 levels is easy with an Active Vitamin B12 Home Test Kit.
Foods that strengthen communication between neurons
The importance of communication between neurons can’t be overstated. The growth of new neurons depends on a smooth exchange of information, which means that boosting communication is a crucial element in treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Foods that can boost communication between neurons include:
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (for instance salmon)
- Foods rich in vitamins B6 and E (like spinach),
- Foods containing choline ( such as egg yolks)
Additionally, it is important ensure you eat plenty of antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. These protect against cell damage from unstable molecules known as free radicals. Antioxidants also help keep inflammation under control—another important aspect of healthy nerve cell growth.
Essential fats for brain health
Polyunsaturated fats are essential to maintain healthy brain function. A balanced diet that includes such healthy fats is also good for your heart and joints. While it is easy to get enough omega-6 fatty acids in our diets, it can prove more difficult to consume enough omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 comes from produce such as fish, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and even dark leafy greens. Getting plenty of omega-3 can help lower triglycerides in people who are overweight or obese. Studies also suggest they may play a role in warding off Alzheimer’s disease by protecting neurons from cell death.
Eating a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet is important for our brain health as well as overall health. Why not try one of our vitamins and minerals health checks? These include key health markers pertaining to your vitamins and minerals levels, including gluten and lactose intolerance. However, if you are concerned about your symptoms, you should consult your doctor.