8 Foods to Eat Every Day to Boost Brain Power
Your brain is one of your body’s most essential and complex organs. It controls every thought, movement, sight, breath and emotion our bodies muster.
Many people experience mild cognitive decline as they age, while others develop more severe dementia. Eating brain-boosting foods can strengthen your mind and protect your brain from memory loss and poor cognitive performance. Consider including these eight foods in your daily diet to enhance your brain power.
Coffee drinkers are ahead of the game when consuming food for brain power. Your morning brew is loaded with caffeine and antioxidants for optimal brain health. According to one study, participants showed improved visual accuracy — identifying moving objects at a faster speed — about 60 minutes after consuming caffeine.
In another study of 14,000 graduate students from Spain, coffee drinkers who drank four cups of coffee daily had a significantly lower risk of depression. There was also 42% less self-reporting of depressive symptoms.
While a certain amount of coffee increases alertness and mood, drinking too much may have the opposite effect. Consuming four to seven cups every day may result in a higher chance of mild cognitive impairment. Likewise, about six or more cups daily could increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Few brain-boosting foods are as powerful as blueberries. Blueberries are rich in flavonoids with superior anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. Antioxidants prevent free radicals and safeguard cells from oxidative stress — which may lead to cognitive decline.
In another study, children between seven and 10 displayed improved memory, self-control and flexible thinking. Similar results were seen in healthy adults over 60 and those with mild cognitive decline.
Salmon and other fatty fish contain ample omega-3s with neuroprotective qualities for optimal brain health. Eating omega-3-rich brain foods is especially important for preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
One study suggested that among over 2000 participants with dementia, those with higher omega-3s had larger hippocampal capacity — correlating with learning and improved memory. There was also better reasoning and logical thinking and lower vascular dementia among those with higher omega-3 concentrations in their diet.
Eat some almonds if you’re having trouble shutting your brain off at night. One ounce of almonds contains 76.5 milligrams (mg) of magnesium. Along with 76.3 mg of calcium, you’ll consume the right amount of melatonin to relax your body for a restful night.
A good night’s sleep improves your memory function. Nearly 68% of nurses working night shifts had much lower memory test scores than those on daytime shifts. They were also more likely to make more mathematical mistakes.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but oranges are one of the best foods for brain power. In fact, the polyphenols in all citrus fruits are beneficial for cognitive function.
While research is limited, a new study suggests 100% orange juice could result in higher cognitive performance and alertness and possibly prevent dementia. Consuming three to four citrus fruits weekly was seemingly the most beneficial for memory.
The catechins in green tea reportedly hinder cognitive decline, inducing higher memory capacity and lower oxidative stress in the brain. A study on mice given green tea for nine to 11 months also uncovered more significant learning potential.
Green tea’s effects on brain health may be dose-specific. A research team from the National University of Singapore analyzed individuals who drank green, oolong and black teas for 25 years. Those who consumed tea at least four times weekly significantly enhanced their brain function.
Although studies vary, eggs may be the essential brain-boosting breakfast food to start your day. An investigation into cognition uncovered a correlation between a high egg intake — with seafood, vegetables and dairy — and a lower risk of memory loss.
Egg yolks also contain choline — an essential compound for membrane durability and neurotransmission during childhood development. In one study, pregnant women who ate one egg within 24 hours were eight times more likely to meet the recommended choline guidelines for fetal cognitive maturation.
End each day on a high note with a piece of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains five times more polyphenols and flavonoids than milk and white chocolate. Cacao flavonoids increase blood flow from the heart to the brain to stimulate neurons and improve brain function.
A 70%-cocoa dark chocolate bar can improve episodic memory two hours after it’s eaten in healthy young adults. Likewise, middle-aged adults who consume dark chocolate show signs of improved processing speed, spatial and working memory, logical thinking and other executive functions.
Although dark chocolate is one of the most effective brain foods, avoid overeating it. Even too much dark chocolate can make you gain weight and cause your sugar to spike.
Eat Healthy Foods for Brain Power
A sound mind is your most valuable asset, so ensuring optimal brain health is essential. Switching up your diet to include these brain-boosting foods is worth it for long-term cognitive health. Brain foods are also vital for overall health and well-being.