9 Brain-Boosting Foods
Phrases like “eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes” are common in almost every household with kids. While there may be truth to that statement, and other benefits of eating carrots, sayings like these can often fall on deaf ears because it seems that every food is responsible for something —”eat spinach to grow strong like Popeye” and “drink milk for strong bones .”
The truth is that eating fruits and vegetables is good for you, plain and simple. And eating a variety is even better, so your body can get all of the nutrients and vitamins it needs to operate at its optimal level. The best part is that most foods offer a two-for-one deal, if you will. Carrots, for example, may help not only your eyes, but also your brain. And it turns out that if kale or kale chips have become recent staples in your kitchen, they might be doing more good for you than you think.
So, if there’s a time when focusing on brain power or energy is a must, say while studying for the bar exam or the GMATs, it might not hurt to increase your intake of healthy foods that have been linked to improving brain productivity and function. Granted, some are meant for long-term health rather than short-term, but it really can’t hurt to tackle both ends of the spectrum when it comes to your health.
Wheatgrass, and other foods like broccoli, berries, and spinach, contain antioxidants that are essential for brain health because they protect it from free radical damage. Note that to obtain the nutrients from wheatgrass, it must be consumed as a juice.
Foods like avocados or olive oil, which contain monounsaturated fats, can help minimize memory loss.
Salmon seems to be the super fish these days, with its oft-touted heart-healthy benefits, but studies have also shown that omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon, can help improve learning and memory functions in the brain. Fats make up 60 percent of the gray matter of the brain, particularly DHA, an omega-3 fat. “Eating fish just once a week may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease, and salmon has the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids.” For vegetarians, she notes that vegetable oils like flaxseed, soy, and canola are also rich sources of the fatty acids.
Because of the big push behind blueberries a few years ago, it’s a known fact that blueberries are high in antioxidants, which are essential for overall brain health.
Also found in spinach, red peppers, and summer squashes, B vitamins, which help manufacture and release chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. “The nervous system relies on neurotransmitters to communicate messages within the brain, such as those that regulate mood, hunger, and sleep.”
Vitamin B12, often referred to as the “memory vitamin,” is only found naturally in animal foods, so vegans should be careful to use supplements., its integrally involved in nerve function and found in yogurts, cheeses, salmon, shrimp, and beef.
7. Spinach or Kale
“I’d list dark leafy greens (spinach is probably my top choice, or kale) as one of the top foods for brain health,”. They pack a huge antioxidant punch and the main benefit for the brain, but they are also powerhouses overall in terms of vitamin and mineral content.
8. Green Tea
Green tea is not only a great source of antioxidants, but it also provides a hefty amount of caffeine, which is good for coffee-turned-tea drinkers and caffeine can improve cognitive function, focus, and concentration. Coffee and chocolate also have antioxidants, but probably aren’t as strong of a source as green tea.
With the conflicting evidence about egg yolks (Good for you? Bad for you?), I say they’re not to be ignored. Choline, a building block from the brain neurotransmitter acetylcholine, is involved in memory and is found in eggs, specifically the yolk.
Everything in moderation!!