Whether it’s to help yourself concentrate at work (while trying to avoid 300 cups of coffee), or to help boost the kids’ attention span at school, including these brain foods in your diet may make a heap of a difference. Here’s hoping it may even help you remember whether you turned the straighteners off when you’re running out the door!
Blueberries have been reported to boost memory due to their high levels of flavonoids, which are thought to protect against oxidative stress or free radical damage in the brain.
Spinach is a great source of chlorophyll, which has been suggested to boost our absorption of iron and promote red blood cell growth, both of which improve oxygen delivery to the brain.
Essential fatty acids can’t be made by our bodies, which means they must be obtained through diet. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish. These fats are important for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and our general wellbeing. What makes oily fish so good is that they contain the active form of these fats in a ready-made form, which enables the body to use it easily.
Pumpkin seeds are particularly rich in zinc and supply a valuable mineral which is vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills. These seeds are also full of stress-busting magnesium, B vitamins and tryptophan, the precursor to the feel good chemical serotonin.
A great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower. Researchers have also reported that because broccoli is high in glucosinolates, it can slow the breakdown of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which we need for our central nervous system, and to keep our brains and our memories sharp.
Research suggests that lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes, can help protect against the damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.
Asparagus considerable amounts of folic acid, which is needed for the production of neurotransmitters, and also for building healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen to the brain. It also contains flavonoids and carotenoids, which act as antioxidants to protect against brain damage.
Certain B vitamins, such as those found in the likes of eggs- B6, B12 and folic acid – are known to reduce levels of a compound called homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risk of stroke, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. A study of a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment found that after two years with high doses of B6, B12 and folic acid in their diets, there was significantly less brain shrinkage compared to those who maintained their usual diet.
Various research shows that walnuts contain around twice as many antioxidants as other nuts, as well as choline, a nutrient that helps with the transmission of nerve signals.
Beetroot contains high levels of nitrates, these convert to nitric oxide in the body, a natural vasodilator that relaxes your blood vessels for better circulation, which in turn improves the oxygen and blood flow to our brains.