Best foods to boost your brain health
Like the body, the brain needs fuel, which can be obtained from brain-healthy foods. Here are some foods that can give your brain a boost:
Cacao: Eating chocolates – with a high percentage of cacao – is good for your brain, thanks to powerful compounds called flavonols. These compounds act as antioxidants and help preserve the brain’s stem cells — which produce new brain cells.
Flavonols, as antioxidants, also help fight chronic inflammation which can cause diseases related to thinking and memory. In addition, research has shown that flavonols support the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain involved in memory and mood. While eating chocolates is good for you, eat it in moderation, about a square or two each day.
Colorful fruits and vegetables: Adding more colored foods to your diet also improves your brain health. Colored foods refer to naturally colored ones, like fruits and vegetables.
Colorful fruits and vegetables, such as beets, berries, leafy greens, carrots, and peppers, have high amounts of antioxidants like carotenoids and anthocyanins. These antioxidants are natural pigments that give those fruits and vegetables their bright colors. Antioxidants are good for the brain because they can protect brain cell linings from the damage caused by free radicals, which are toxic molecules that cause inflammation and are caused by factors like a poor diet or breathing polluted air. Greens and beans also provide folate, which is beneficial in the production of the chemical messengers in the brain that are essential to thinking and mood called neurotransmitters.
Fatty acids: Eating fatty acids at least once a week can help slow cognitive decline and lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), play a role in keeping the brain healthy. These healthy fats are used by the brain’s membranes to enhance cellular structure and brain signaling, which results in better cognitive function. In addition, DHA also fights chronic inflammation that can damage brain cells and result in cognitive decline. You can get good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from foods like chia seeds, flaxseed, hempseed, and walnuts.
Whole grains: The brain prefers glucose, which can be obtained most readily from carbs, as fuel. Without enough glucose, you may experience brain fog and have a hard time focusing. Instead of refined carbs, opt for whole grains, such as whole wheat, whole rye, brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa. Whole grains contain fiber and help control your blood sugar levels. Sharp increases and declines in blood sugar can damage the ability of your cells to uptake glucose because of insulin resistance. In addition to eating these brain-healthy foods, you can also improve your brain health in other ways by doing brain exercises, performing physical exercises, getting enough sleep, keeping your stress levels in check, and interacting with your loved ones.
June 7, 2019
Also available in: Français