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Brain Boosting Foods

Wouldn’t it be great if we all could remain as sharp mentally at age 80 as we were at age 60?  Research tells us that some people inherit the propensity to develop dementia. Until we learn how to fix those mutated genes, it’s up to us to do our part by maximizing our intake of plant based foods and minimizing our intake of lean meat and poultry. Here is a list of some brain boosting, memory enhancing foods to include in your diet.  It’s what we eat day to day that affects our overall brain health. Naturally, there will be special occasions and holidays when we dive into that juicy prime rib, a fully loaded pizza, or a big slice of cheesecake.  But, your day to day diet should be heavy on the plant based foods and light on the meat and poultry.

 

What to eat
  1. Fatty fish is a rich source of omega-3s, a major building block of the brain. Omega-3s play a role in sharpening memory and improving mood, as well as protecting your brain against decline. Some examples of fish that are “fatty” and high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are salmon, trout and sardines.  Supplements are not nearly as effective as eating these fish.
  2. Nuts contain a host of brain boosting nutrients, including vitamin E, healthy fats and plant compounds. While all nuts are good for your brain, walnuts may have an extra edge, since they also deliver omega-3 fatty acids.
  1. Oils that are high in polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fatty acids, such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil have been associated with decreased risk of cognitive decline. In addition to oils that have been shown to promote brain health, some oils should best be left on the shelf. Vegetable oils in particular (e.g. soybean, canola, palm and corn oil), while cheap, may end up being more costly to your cognition in the long run.  Although Coconut Oil is highly touted  as being good for the brain, research, so far, has failed to prove this.
  1. Pumpkin seeds are rich in many micronutrients that are important for brain function, including copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. So, this Halloween, be sure to save the pumpkin seeds to roast and lightly salt – a super snack!
  1. Coffee contains caffeine and antioxidants that can be brain boosting. Coffee can increase alertness, improve moods by boosting serotonin, and sharpen concentration. Drinking coffee over the long term is also linked to a reduced risk of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.  This could at least be partly due to coffee’s high concentration of antioxidants.
  2. Blueberries, which are heavy with antioxidants, have been found to accumulate in the brain and help improve communication between brain cells.  Add them to your cereal, or grab a handful for a brain boosting snack!
  3. Turmeric, a deep-yellow spice is a key ingredient in curry powder and has a number of benefits for the brain.  Its active compound curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, which help the brain. In research, it has reduced symptoms of depression and Alzheimer’s disease.  It may also help clear the amyloid plaques that are a hallmark of this disease.  To reap the benefits of curcumin, try cooking with curry powder, adding turmeric to potato dishes to turn them golden or making turmeric tea.
  1. Broccoli contains vitamin K which is essential for forming sphingolipids, a type of fat that’s densely packed into brain.  Beyond vitamin K, broccoli contains a number of compounds that give it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may help protect the brain against damage.
  1. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are packed with a few brain boosting compounds, including flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants. The flavonoids in chocolate gather in the areas of the brain that deal with learning and memory. Researchers say these compounds may enhance memory and also help slow down age-related mental decline.  In one study, including over 900 people, those who ate chocolate more frequently performed better in a series of mental tasks, including some involving memory, than those who rarely ate it.  Chocolate is also a legitimate mood booster.  One study found that participants who ate chocolate experienced increased positive feelings, compared to participants who ate crackers.  However, it’s still not clear whether that’s because of compounds in the chocolate, or simply because the yummy flavor makes people happy.
  2. Oranges:  You can get all the vitamin C you need in a day by eating one medium orange!  Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off the free radicals that can damage brain cells.  You can also get excellent amounts of vitamin C from bell peppers, guava, kiwi, tomatoes and strawberries.
  3. Green Tea, like coffee, contains caffeine, thereby boosting brain function – improved alertness, performance, memory and focus.  But green tea also has other components that make it a brain-healthy beverage.  Its antioxidants protect the brain and L-theanine, an amino-acid, reduces anxiety and restores serenity.
More information

The information above, was compiled from the following sources:  http://blog.neurotrack.com/which-oil-is-best-for-brain-health/ andhttp://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-brain-foods#

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