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7 Brain-Boosting Foods for Peak Mental Performance

Nutrition impacts how your brain works. If you sometimes experience mental fog, consider what you eat. Have you been indulging in processed fast foods or unhealthy snacks? 

These foods can be one of the causes. Shift your diet and discover the vitamins and brain-boosting foods that can supercharge your mental ability. 

Vitamins That Power up the Brain

The brain is the central system of the body, controlling many functions. Proper sustenance is critical to fuel this vital organ. Take a look at what your healthy brain-boosting plate should have: 

  • B vitamins: Vitamins B1 and B12 are essential for proper brain growth. B1 supports the basic function of nervous system cells, while B12 helps form red blood cells and DNA. 
  • Vitamin D: Did you know that exposure to the sun can make your brain more active? According to experts, the sun has this ability. Sunrays are the best non-food source of this essential vitamin. 
  • Vitamin E: One study found that high levels of vitamin E can delay mild cognitive impairment thanks to its antioxidant properties that cloak and protect the brain from harmful chemicals.

Foods loaded with antioxidants, essential vitamins and nutrients support brain vitality and function. Look for items with these compounds to promote focus and achieve peak mental performance.

7 Brain-Boosting Foods to Incorporate in Your Diet

Here are some brain-enhancing foods you can insert into your diet.

1. Blueberries

You should never underestimate these tiny fruits because they pack many antioxidant benefits that shield your nervous system from oxidative stress. They contain various phytochemicals, including anthocyanin pigments that provide neuroprotection. In an animal study, they improved the motor and cognitive performance of aged rats and enhanced their long-term spatial memory.

Consuming moderate amounts gives you benefits beyond the brain — blueberries can lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes and help you maintain a healthy weight.

2. Fatty Fish

Mackerel and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These substances can invigorate the brain and reduce the risk of cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow vessels.

In a study, researchers divided 1,623 seniors over 65 into four groups based on how frequently they consumed fish — less than a week, once weekly, two to three times weekly, and four or more times weekly. They found on MRI scans that those who ate more fish had fewer signs of brain damage than other groups. Remember to add fish to your meals.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli is another antioxidant powerhouse. The combination of vitamin C, fiber and folate form its brain protection features. It’s known for its high vitamin K content — a cup has more than 100% of your daily value, making it an excellent choice for nutrition.

Moreover, one study found a positive connection between vitamin K1 and cognitive status in elderly patients. Therefore, include this vegetable on your plate. Eating it is recommended for all age groups to improve mental function.

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds also flaunt antioxidant components, including zinc, magnesium, copper and iron. They make great snacks and are a healthy alternative to sugary foods whenever you need an energy boost. 

These seeds are a staple of the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet. They are high in fiber, which minimizes your risk for heart disease and amplifies brain capabilities. Be sure to buy some the next time you go grocery shopping.

5. Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is a treat, and it’s hard to believe it has merits in brain health. The dark varieties are loaded with good stuff that makes you feel less guilty about eating them. 

A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70%–85% cocoa contains iron, copper, manganese, magnesium and fiber. Its brain benefits stem from flavanols, known for their potent antioxidant properties that help enhance blood flow to the brain. Now, you have one more reason to eat that chocolate hidden in your kitchen cupboard.

6. Walnuts

Walnuts make delicious snacks. Besides their taste and versatile use as toppings, they boast the power to enhance memory, motor coordination, locomotor activity and learning. 

In an animal study, researchers found a high walnut diet had significantly fortified the brain’s antioxidant defense and decreased the levels of free radicals in mice with Alzheimer’s disease. The walnut extract also demonstrated an ability to counter the build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain, which are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Be sure to eat some for these reasons.

7. Spinach

These dark leafy greens are considered superfoods because they offer impressive brain benefits. Spinach contains vitamin K, beta carotene and folate that supports the nervous system. Additionally, it’s loaded with lutein — an antioxidant that mitigates the incidence of coronary heart disease. Its other nutritional benefits include reducing inflammation, regulating weight and powering up your immune system. Add it to your salad, smoothie or omelet to increase mental alertness. 

Keep Your Brain in Tip-Top Shape

Your brain’s main source of energy and nutrition is the food you eat. Protect it by carefully what goes on your plate. These seven wholesome options can fuel your brain and make it run like a well-oiled machine. Explore other food selections to enhance mental performance and achieve a balanced diet.

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