If you’re looking for foods that improve brain function, you have a wide array of choices. While many people think of avocados as fruity, Caribbean-flavored fruits that are laden with calories, there are actually quite a few foods that are packed with these nutrients. If you have trouble getting the fruit’s nutrients into your diet, adding it to a number of common dishes can help. The following list highlights foods that provide nutritional benefits and may even cause your brain to work better:
Fish. People have long been aware of the brain-enhancing qualities of fish, but what most people do not realize is that fish contain significant levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are essential in maintaining brain health. In fact, pregnant women are advised to eat at least two portions of fish per week for the sake of their baby’s brain health.
Eggs. Eating eggs every day is an excellent way to get your daily dose of omega-3s. Not only do eggs contain healthy fats that help you feel full without affecting your cholesterol, but the vitamins and minerals found in eggs are also great for brain health. If you don’t like the taste of a raw egg, simply mash up some of your favorite egg recipes into something you’ll love: scrambled eggs, omelets, puddings, sausage, ham, or prime rib.
Nuts. If you’ve never heard of Alzheimer’s disease, then you’re definitely missing out on a lot of nutrients. Nuts are rich in protein and have been found to lower bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol. They also contain essential fatty acids, which can improve circulation and increase the amount of beta-carotene that your body receives from eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. For the best value, try to find unprocessed nuts, such as sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, and almonds.
Seafood. Studies have shown that eating salmon, trout, halibut, mackerel, and other seafood can make your brain function better. You probably already know that the two most important omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil, so it should come as no surprise that fatty fish is also highly recommended. The brain needs this substance to function properly, especially since it can get depleted in many situations due to pollution, aging, stress, and medications.
Nuts and seeds provide another source of this brain-altering nutrient. They contain the highest levels of all the antioxidants found in foods, which can reduce the buildup of amyloid in the brain and decrease inflammatory molecules known as interleukins. This can improve memory, concentration, and brain activity. These nutrients also stimulate the production of serotonin, a chemical that helps control moods, anxiety, and other emotional intelligence-related problems.
Blueberries. Some blueberries contain more antioxidants than any other natural food. This includes a compound called anthocyanin which has been proven to fight against the formation of harmful free radicals. In studies, blueberries have been shown to enhance memory, improve visual acuity, lower blood pressure, and prevent stroke.
Vitamin C. Studies show that vitamin C strengthens brain cells and is necessary for neurogenesis, a process that helps children develop new brain cells. Since vitamin C is an antioxidant, it is effective in combating the buildup of toxins in the body as we age. Studies show that a diet that is rich in vitamin C is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the best sources of vitamin C are oranges, broccoli, and tomato. Also, the beneficial effects of vitamin C don’t wear off, so you get the added benefits of this brain-healthy nutrient while maintaining a balanced diet.