Essential Foods For Brain Health

If you want to make sure your brain works as well as it could, then you have to eat the right foods. Doing so doesn’t just give you better cognitive function overall, it also enables you to focus more, improves your mood, and stops your brain from declining. What people often forget, however, is that they have to feed this most important of organs.

The brain weighs, on the average, 3 pounds. However, it uses as much as 20% of the calories you consume each day. You have to make sure, therefore, that you eat plenty of ‘brain foods’. These are full of carbohydrates (they give the brain energy), proteins (they create the chemicals your brain needs and secretes) and fats (they build healthy cells in the brain).

So what are some of the best brain foods out there?

1. Blueberries

Blueberries, the tiny little berries, are true super foods. They have so many benefits that scientists spend hours and hours researching their individual properties. The fact that they are good for the brain is well known, which is why they are often called brainberries instead.

“In animal studies, researchers have found that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Studies have also shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats.”

Blueberries are great, because they can be used in many different things. Blueberry pancakes and muffins are perhaps best known, but they are not very healthy ways of consuming the berry (although better than none). Adding them to home made organic smoothies or a bowl of yogurt is a much better way to consume them.

2. Fats

We have grown to hate fat. Too many people are fat, and we know this is caused by them eating too many fats. Because there are so many fats out there, such as monosaturated fats, hydrogenated fats, saturated fats, non-saturated fats, animal fats, and so on, we have learned to just hate them all. In reality, however, we need fat for our body and brain, although it has to be the right kind of fat.

“60% of a dried brain weight is fat, it is no wonder deficiencies in specific kinds of fats can have huge repercussions on intelligence and behaviour.”

There are numerous foods that are full of healthy fats. These include seeds and nuts, but also very much in fish. Herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, salmon and tuna steaks are particularly good for the brain. Parents are also encouraged to make sure their children eat plenty of these foods so that they have proper mental development.

3. Curcumin

Curcumin is a very healthy, but a little known spice that more people should consider adding to their diet. Interestingly, the spice is very common in certain Asian communities and, in these same communities, the incidences of illness such as Alzheimer’s Disease are much lower.

“Indian populations suffer from Alzheimer’s disease much less than Americans. New research has outlined the mechanism by which curcumin actually fights the development of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain.”

Curcumin can be used in almost any dish. It is also known as ‘turmeric’ and has a bright yellow color. Do be aware of the fact that it will stain everything it touches, so use it carefully although not sparingly. It goes particularly well with chicken and lemon, although it can also be used on vegetables and in seeds and grains. Experiment with it and give your brain a workout at the same time.