Want to get smarter, think faster, and remember where you left your glasses? It turns out that multiple foods can actually help improve your brain health and better your overall cognition, with many even offering long-term protection. Check out this list for six healthy brain foods that you should be adding to your meals on a daily basis.
Ever notice that walnuts look a little bit like brains? It’s likely unrelated, but walnuts are good for your gray matter. Why? Walnuts are extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids – in fact, they have the highest omega-3 content of any plant food.
These omega-3s, as well as other antioxidants in walnuts, reduce inflammation in the brain and may even act a safeguard against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Consider adding in 1 to 1.5 ounces of walnuts to your diet each day.
For a short-term brain boost, caffeine is where it’s at. A cup of coffee or tea can immediately boost cognition, helping you to concentrate better while simultaneously energizing you.
It may also have some long-term protective effects on the brain, although the research is still ongoing when it comes to the long-term benefits of ingesting caffeine on a daily basis. Just make sure not to overdo it, otherwise you’ll end up jittery and in worse shape than you were before.
Berries are packed with antioxidants that reduce stress on your brain and, like walnuts, berries (especially blueberries) might be able to help ward off Alzheimer’s disease by reducing oxidative stress.
Plus, studies in rats have found that eating a diet rich in blueberries can help to improve memory and cognition in aging animals, leaving subjects with the brain power of their younger brethren.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach might be able to help slow cognitive decline in aging populations, keeping your brain sharp for as long as possible. This is likely due to the high folate (a type of B vitamin) content in spinach, greens, and cruciferous vegetables.
Of course, eating your veggies is never a bad thing – studies have also found that people who eat more vegetables in general tend to have better brainpower longer in life.
This versatile orange veggie contains a compound called luteolin, which studies have shown can reduce inflammation in the brain. Scientists believe that by cutting down on inflammation, luteolin can help reduce age-related memory decline. Peppers and celery are also rich in luteolin, so consider adding all three to your next salad or stir-fry!
Oily, deep-water fish, like wild salmon, are one of nature’s best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are absolutely essential for good brain function. Omega-3s also have anti-inflammatory properties, which, as we’ve seen in the first five brain foods that we’ve looked at, can help stall dementia and other age-related forms of cognitive decline.
Have any great recipes for these six brain foods? Share them with us in the comments section!