For improved physically and mentally performance, eat these brain foods.
Eating well not only helps you physically but also mentally. But it’s important to know which foods will help improve your brain power to perform at your
best each day.
Whether you want to optimise your nutrition during exams or simply want to stay sharp in your next work meeting, paying attention to your diet can really
pay off. Although there is no single ‘brain food’ that can protect against age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, and there are many
other medical conditions that can affect the brain, paying attention to what you eat gives you the best chance of getting all the nutrients you need
for cognitive health.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes these brain-boosting foods may help to
keep your memory, concentration and focus as sharp as it can be.
Wholegrains – to help improve concentration and focus.
The brain cannot work without energy. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from an adequate, steady supply of energy in the form of glucose in our
blood to the brain. Achieve this by choosing wholegrains with a low-GI, which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert
throughout the day. Opt for ‘brown’ wholegrain cereals, granary bread, rice and pasta.
Oily fish – can help promote healthy brain function.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body which means they must be obtained through diet. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally
in oily fish in the form of EPA and DHA. Good plant sources include linseed (flaxseed), soya beans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and their oils. These fats
are important for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and our general wellbeing. What makes oily fish so good is that they contain the active
form of these fats, EPA and DHA, in a ready-made form, which enables the body to use it easily. The main sources of oily fish include salmon, trout,
mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers. Low DHA levels have been linked to an increased risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and memory
loss whilst having sufficient levels of both EPA and DHA is thought to help us manage stress and helps make the good mood brain chemical, serotonin.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you may wish to add seeds like linseed and chia to your diet, or consider a plant-based omega-3 supplement. If you are
considering taking a supplement speak to your GP first.
Learn more about the health benefits of salmon.
Blueberries – may help boost short-term memory.
A university in the United States has found that eating blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss. Blueberries are widely
available, but you can also look out for dark red and purple fruits and veg which contain the same protective compounds called anthocyanins.
Read more about the health benefits of blueberries.
Eggs – might help delay brain shrinkage.
Certain B vitamins – B6, B12 and folic acid – are known to reduce levels of a compound called homocysteine in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine
are associated with increased risk of stroke, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. A study of a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive
impairment found that after two years of intervention with high doses of B6, B12 and folic acid there was significantly less brain shrinkage compared
to a subset given placebo treatment. Opt for B-rich foods like eggs, chicken, fish and leafy greens.
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