Your brain is the most complex part of the human body. As the primary vessel for your intelligence, senses, movements and behavior, its regular need for stimulation and support is insurmountable. In addition to considering patterns of sleep, activity and social involvement—your diet plays a crucial role in cognitive function. While the effects of aging and health concerns on cognition cannot be entirely prevented, experts have found that what you eat makes a significant impact on sharpening mental focus, slowing disease and lowering the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Here are 7 foods your brain will love:
- Lean Protein
Seafood, beans and eggs are all sources of protein that not only help with muscular health but provide nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. These components are vital in supporting memory function, learning and mental acuity. With the bonus of fiber from beans, you’ll be taking care of your gut health too!
- Leafy Greens
Spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula and other dark leafy greens particularly provide vitamin D, also known as folate. While a deficiency of folate has been associated with neurological ailments, intentionally including it in your diet may decrease your risk.
- Nuts and Seeds
It’s no coincidence a walnut is shaped like a brain! Eating a variety of nuts and seeds, you make available powerful antioxidants and essential nutrients such as iron, copper, zinc and magnesium that all help with nerve signaling and overall brain function.
- Colorful fruits and veggies
In addition to the antioxidant advantages that come from consuming nuts and seeds, colorful fruits and vegetables—think especially of purple, red, orange and blue—have been correlated with anti-inflammatory effects, showing evidence of even delaying short-term memory loss and improving overall memory.
Often missed, avocados offer a nutrient punch for brain health from multiple sides. With their healthy load of omegas, fiber and antioxidants, they support healthy blood flow that, in turn, offer your brain the support it needs for regular cognitive function. This kind of support slows cognitive decline, lowering the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Whole Grains
The majority of serotonin—your feel-good neuro transmitter—is made in the gut, along with much of your body’s immune function. By choosing whole grains on a regular basis, you can allow good bacteria to fight for you against the bad bacteria linked to diseases and inflammation that greatly impact cognitive function.
- Dark chocolate
High contents of cocoa in dark chocolate (at least 70%) are packed with flavonoids, which are notable antioxidants linked with slowing age-related mental decline while enhancing memory. Eating dark chocolate or incorporating unsweetened cocoa powder are ways to get in good sources of vitamins as well, all the while boosting your mood and increasing positive feelings!