Feeling a little sluggish? Memory not quite on point? Just not as mentally “sharp” as usual? While genetics and age play a role in how our brains change, this major organ needs to be nourished and fueled just like the rest of our bodies. Loading up on the right superfoods is essential to living a more energized and productive life.
Your brain is arguably the most important organ in your body. With the help of some delicious superfoods, you can boost your brain power for years to come. Foods like oily fish, nuts, seeds, blueberries, avocados, dark chocolate, and caffeine can all help you stay focused and live a healthier life. Keep reading to find out why.
Deep-Water and Oily Fish
Oily fish like salmon, sardines, and herring are rich in omega-3s. These essential fatty acids help to reduce inflammation while providing healthy fats for brain development and maintenance. Two to three servings per week are recommended.
Fresh or frozen, blueberries are packed with antioxidants and flavonoids. Promising studies on animals show that a diet rich in blueberries can protect the brain from the harmful effects of oxidative stress, which is believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s and dementia. One cup per day is the recommended serving size to support brain function.
Walnuts are not only rich in omega-3s, they are also excellent sources of fiber, folate, and vitamin E. Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the amount of cognitive decline people experience as they age. Nuts like peanuts, cashews, and almonds are good sources of vitamin E as well. Aim for an ounce of nuts per day.
Chia, flax, sunflower, and other seeds are high on the list of brain-healthy foods because of their levels of Omega-3s. Seeds have anti-inflammatory properties known for lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow to the brain. Chronic hypertension is a considerable risk factor when it comes to decreased cognitive abilities later in life.
This “fatty fruit” is more than a tasty side dish, it’s also loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats. While this superfood is also good for lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow, it is considered high in calories. Limit intake to no more than ¼ to ½ of an avocado per day.
Most dark chocolate has a little bit of caffeine, which is great for stimulating the brain and improving focus. The caffeine content also stimulates the release of endorphins, which generally improve our moods. Dark chocolate is known to have antioxidant benefits as well. Chocolate should always be consumed in moderation, at about an ounce per day; and remember, the health benefits come from dark chocolate, not sugar-filled milk chocolate.
Tea and Coffee
Most of the health benefits from tea and coffee come from the caffeine content. Studies have shown that people who drink three cups of coffee per day are 65 percent less likely to develop dementia. Tea contains not only caffeine, but an amino acid called theanine. Theanine is believed to improve your attention span and help you stay focused.
Your brain controls every bodily function you have. Without it, you can’t move or do anything at all. Fueling your brain with the right superfoods will aid in keeping your brain in proper working order and your mental faculties sharp.
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