Our brain is the center of the nervous system, which makes it the most powerful part of our body. It controls all movement, sensation, and thoughts. Not only this, the brain also regulates unconscious activity, breathing, hormone balance, blood flow, and circadian rhythm. Our brain works constantly, even when we snooze.
Brain is the most energy desirous organ. It needs a constant supply of glucose to function properly. We all take care of what to, what not to eat, to keep our body in shape. We know how the food we eat can affect our body, but do we know, what we eat also affects our memory, brain’s energy, and mood.
Brain demands glucose because neurons do not store glucose like other cells of the body. Brain gets glucose from the food we eat. Brain uses glucose as a fuel, but it uses some other nutrients as well. You must include healthy fats in your diet, like those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconut, because our brain is made up of 60 percent fat. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconut contain the essential omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids required by the body, along with beneficial nonessential fatty acids.
You should totally avoid trans fats, while saturated fats can be used in control. Trans fats should be removed from the diet because they damage the brain and heart, increase cholesterol, and contribute to diabetes and obesity.
You must add below mentioned foods to your diet to boost your brain function and memory:
Beans and Legumes: They are outstanding sources of complex carbohydrates, which when mixed with fiber slows absorption, thus giving a stable supply of glucose to the brain. Beans and legumes are also rich in essential omega fatty acids and folate, a B vitamin which is essential for brain function.
Whole Grains: They are a great source of complex vitamin B, fiber, carbohydrates, and some omega 3 fatty acids that protect the brain and heart from harmful cholesterol, sugar spikes, blood clots, etc. Whole grains must be soaked and sprouted to get maximum nutrition from them.
Nuts: Nuts are good for the brain, especially almonds and walnuts. They are rich in vitamin B6, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and vitamin E. Vitamin E protects brain from free radicals, thus improves brain power. Avoid taking nuts in large amount, you should consume only a small amount of nuts daily, because nuts contain some anti-nutrients as well. Soak nuts overnight before eating them, they are healthier this way.
Avocado: Avocados are a rich source of omega 3, omega 6 fatty acids. They also contain monounsaturated fats. These fats help increase blood flow to the brain, and improves absorption of antioxidants. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K and potassium. Vitamin E protects brain from free radicals and Vitamin K and potassium protect the brain against stroke.
Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is a great source of flavonols, which help improve blood vessel function, which in turn improves memory and cognitive function. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants and help improve mood.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a great source of potassium, full of the antioxidant lycopene that fights dementia, and a superb source of vitamin A and vitamin C. This makes them a perfect brain food.
Broccoli: Broccoli is rich in vitamins B, C, K, calcium, iron, beta-carotene, and fiber. These nutrients protect brain against free radicals, and heavy metals that can damage the brain.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil comprises medium chain triglycerides, which are used by our body for energy, leaving glucose to be used by the brain. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory and help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Blueberries: Blueberries contain huge amount of antioxidant polyphenols, thus prevents brain against free radical damage. They also contain flavonoids that improve the neuron-neuron communication, cognitive functions, memory, and learning.
Turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin, which improves learning and memory and also protects against cognitive impairment.
Spinach: Spinach contains folate and vitamin E that prevent or delay dementia.
Red Cabbage: Red cabbage is loaded with powerful antioxidant polyphenols, which benefits the brain and heart. It also contains glucosinolates that fight against cancer.
Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds are rich in omega fatty acids, proteins and vitamin B. The seeds also contain tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin by brain to boost mood and fight depression.
Red Grapes: These are rich in resveratrol, a compound that improves cognitive functions and memory.
Blackcurrant: These are the best source of with vitamin C, and can increase mental agility.
Fish: Fish including tuna, mackerel, and salmon are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is essential for normal functioning of neurons in the brain.
Coffee: Coffee is a great source of caffeine, which can improve attention and short-term memory. But the excessive amount of coffee is not good for health, so its intake should be limited to two cups a day.
Peanuts and Peanut Butter: They are a source of vitamin E and healthy fats, and help keep the brain and heart healthy.
Rosemary: Rosemary is full of antioxidants, thus help improve cognitive function and memory. It also improves blood flow to the brain.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: It is rich in antioxidant called polyphenols, which makes it a true brain food. These antioxidants help improve learning and memory.
So go ahead, eat something healthy to keep yourself physically and mentally fit. Also remember that our brain needs nutrients just like our muscles, lungs and heart.