The brain is the most important organ of your body; it is the powerhouse which plays a major role in the proper functioning of your body. And that is why it is seriously important to take good care and keep your brain healthy. And you can do that by eating brain healthy foods and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, because your diet and lifestyle can actually affect the health of your brain, memory and concentration.
In order to remember things, to concentrate, to learn, to plan and to act, we need a fit and healthy brain. The way you do weight training to build muscles or do exercise to keep your body in shape, there are various ways to keep your brain healthy. And eating rightly balanced, brain healthy foods are probably the best way to keep your brain healthy and improve your memory and concentration.
Eating well balanced brain healthy foods, followed by regular exercise can help you improve the health of your brain, especially as you grow older. And in this post, we are going to discuss about various foods that helps keep your brain fit and healthy.
Brain healthy foods worth including in your diet
According to this website, there are five pillars of brain health i.e. regular exercise, learn new things, meditate and relax, eat rightly balanced brain healthy foods and connect socially.
We already know that healthy lifestyle, meditation, yoga and exercise is seriously important for our health and well being. But in this post, we are focusing on the diet part of it and discussing brain healthy food that helps us keep our brain healthy.
And here we go.
I will start with this point so that you can start reading the article with a broad ear-to-ear smile. Dark chocolate is something that you will love to eat always, at any given time of the day. The dark chocolates have flavanols which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They can lower blood pressure and improve the blood flow in both heart and brain.
But that does not mean that you will go on munching on Hersheys and Snickers. They are not dark chocolates; most of the chocolates that you see in the market are filled with sugar and preservatives, milk and additives with low percentage of cocoa. You have to find the dark chocolates where there is 70% cocoa. Read the label, know the ingredients and then buy the dark chocolates.
Egg yolks are tasty, but you have been avoiding it because you think that they cause fat and cholesterol. But, let me tell you the good news now. Egg yolks are very nutritious foods, and must be the part of your diet. It can help your body in a number of ways. Egg yolks contain choline which helps in brain development. They also break down bethane, a chemical that produces hormones related to happiness.
So, if you are feeling lethargic and depressed then a whole egg can elevate your mood instantly. Whole egg produces good cholesterol for your body, works as energy booster, and keeps you fuller for long hours too. You can have one whole egg daily for your breakfast and enjoy it even more, as now you know the benefits. No need to sacrifice on the egg yolks from now on! But keep the count.
Walnuts, almonds, cashews can help you in improving memory and concentration. The nuts contain minerals, vitamins, Vitamin E present in the nuts can help in averting the chances of Alzheimer’s. So, the nuts can actually prevent you from going nuts! Walnuts are rich in antioxidants which can fight against the damage to the brain cells’ DNA.
Nuts are known for taking care of your heart and your overall health. You can munch on some few nuts to satiate your afternoon hunger, you can add them in your salads. The nuts are tasty and also super foods when it comes to the matters of the brain!
Green Leafy Vegetables
You have seen Popeye’s obsession of spinach from a very early age, and this actually works. Spinach is that helpful for your brain and body and you must have it every day, if not every day then at least 3 days a week.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbages, kale, lettuce are rich in vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin A and K. They can help in strengthening of the bones and also prevent inflammation. The green vegetables enable blood flow in the brain, thus ensuring a healthy body and mind.
You can prepare beautiful dishes with these vegetables, like in salads and soups, and also items with spinach like Palak Paneer (Indian cheese).
Extra virgin olive oil has polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants, which can improve the functioning of your brain. It can avert the age related diseases like Alzeihmer’s and Amnesia. What you can do is, you can use olive oil in salad dressing which will make the dish tastier and healthier. You can select the olive oil after checking the tag of “extra virgin olive oil”. This is the most superior quality oil and also expensive. So, even if you are not using it for daily cooking, you can consume it in salads.
Tomatoes have lycopene, a very powerful antioxidant which can prevent Dementia in the long run. The functioning of the brain will improve if you have cooked tomatoes everyday.
Saute tomato in the olive oil using pinch of salt and pepper and relish it. Tomatoes can protect the brain cells from getting damaged so, tomato must be a part of your daily routine.
The pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc which can improve brain and concentration. The seeds contain magnesium, Vitamin B and tryptophan which lead to the production of chemical serotonin, this leads to cheering of the mood instantly.
Researches have proved that broccoli is rich in compounds called glucosinolates which can decrease the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is needed for the proper functioning of the central nervous system, thus to keep the memory and concentration sharp. The low level of this acetylcholine is associated with Alzheimer’s. Broccoli is also rich in Vitamin K which can enhance cognitive function and improve brain power.
Not all fats are bad, there are some fats that are good, and your body needs them for a healthy living. The good fats are required by the brain too for an improved functioning. Essential Fatty Acids(EFA) are not produced by the body, you have to include it from your diet. The oily fatty fishes are rich in DHA which is a fatty acid itself. Some natural sources like soya beans, linseeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts are also rich in DHA. These foods contain the readymade form of the fatty acids which can be used by the body. Low levels of DHA are associated with Alzheimer’s and also memory loss. High levels of DHA help in improved memory and concentration, and also good mood.
Berries and cherries
Blackberries, blueberries and cherries are rich in flavonoids, anthocyanins, that will help in memory function. Enjoy berries and cherries in snacks and breakfasts. They are tasty and also beneficial for improving your memory and concentration.
Avocados are creamy nutritious fruits which are rich in 75% of monounsaturated fats, the same fats that are present in olive oil. Monounsaturated fats enable the production of acetylcholine which is the chemical for memory and learning. They are also rich in tyrosine, an amino acid which is a precursor to dopamine, a chemical for enhancing concentration.
Avocados comprise of vitamins C, E, and K, and also vitamin B complex, which is important for the development of the brain.
The sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is too essential. Roast the seeds and sprinkle them on your salad. This will make the food tasty and also give you a brain boost.
The brown whole grain cereals, granary bread, rice and pasta, oats and barley are the whole grains which you can consume everyday in your breakfasts and snacks. The whole grains can be mixed with fruits and milk for a proper serving. The fruits like berries and cherries can be added to whole grains and enjoy the sumptuous meal. Boost your brain power with a nutritious diet.
Over to you
A healthy brain is critical for us and we should take good care of our brain and overall health and wellbeing. Eating brain healthy foods followed by regular exercise and meditation can significantly improve brain health, memory and concentration.
Aging brain requires more attention and care and, hence it’s best to include brain healthy foods in your diet and adopt healthy living style.
Some of the best brain healthy foods include;
- Dark Chocolate
- Egg Yolk
- Green and leafy vegetables
- Olive oil
- Pumpkin seeds
What else do you think one need to do to improve brain health, memory and concentration?
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.