Updated: Jan 8
Can certain foods make you smarter? You know the old saying, you are what you eat? Well, it’s true for your brain, too. After all, your brain is fueled by the nutrients you eat—so you can give yourself a cognitive advantage by munching on brain-boosting foods.
Research shows that the best brain foods are the same ones that also protect your heart and blood vessels. Here are 6 items to add to your diet if you really want to supercharge your brain!
Green, leafy vegetables.Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collards, and broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. According to a 2018 study, these plant-based foods improve memory, slow cognitive decline and promote neuroplasticity.
Fatty fish.Fatty fish are abundant sources of omega-3 fats - the protein that forms damaging clumps in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. Omega 3 fats build cell membranes in your brain. Low levels of your brain’s own omega-3s are linked to cognitive decline, so eating fatty fish that are low in mercury such as salmon, cod, tuna, and pollack can keep them in check.
Berries. Flavonoids, the natural plant pigments that give berries their brilliant hues, also help improve memory, research shows. In a 2012 study published in Annals of Neurology, researchers at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital found that women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week delayed memory decline by up to two-and-a-half years. Researchers have also found that the high antioxidant content in dark-colored berries such as raspberries and blueberries have been shown to reverse age-related neural deficits.
Walnuts. Nuts are excellent sources of protein and healthy fats, but walnuts specifically have been shown to improve memory. A 2015 study from UCLA linked higher walnut consumption to improved cognitive test scores. Walnuts are high in a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which helps lower blood pressure and protects arteries. That's good for both the heart and brain.
Turmeric.Turmeric is used in curries," and is "a primary ingredient in mustard. It’s what gives American-style mustard its bright yellow color." Turmeric contains curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory. Scientists now believe that low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic Western disease - heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, and various degenerative conditions. Curcumin is a bioactive compound that fights inflammation at the molecular level. Also, According to a 2017 study, curcumin can enhance memory and attention, which may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Chocolate. Chocolate lovers, rejoice! But not just any chocolate. Dark chocolate is the hero here. because Dark chocolate is chock full of flavonoids. Flavonoids are shown to increase activity in brain regions involved in the processes of attention, episodic, procedural and working memory, such as the hippocampus and the pre frontal cortex.