As we reach old age, some of the most important brain functions start to deteriorate. Finding one’s self at great risk for poor mental functioning or degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s can be considered as anyone’s greatest nightmares. We can’t bring back the vigour and mental agility we had during our heydays but we can do something to keep our brain activities intact and well-functioning. Apart from doing active mental exercises, a healthy brain can also be achieved by eating foods that are both simple and brain-friendly.
Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in deep-water fish like salmon or sardines are not only good for the heart but for the brain as well. Our brain neurons are coated with fats and omega-3 fatty acids can provide a good coating to keep the brain activities up and running. Too much cholesterol only makes our neurons stiffer and our brain’ capacity to store information will be greatly reduced without the good fats. Ann Kulze, MD, author of Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality recommends 4 ounce of serving, three to four times a week with salmon, herring and sardines as the top picks.
If you’re going to the grocery, always remember to choose those with unrefined ingredients because research suggests that whole grain foods are not only good for the heart but for the brain functioning as well. Whole wheat, bran, oatmeal and whole grain breads are just some of the healthiest additions to your brain-friendly menu. They contain Vitamin B1 that helps in maintaining brain memory and dietary fiber which naturally decreases cholesterol levels and keep the blood flow towards the brain intact.
Nuts and seeds
If you think that the idea about peanuts being brain foods is a myth, you better believe it now because nuts and seeds have been proven to improve a person’s overall brain functioning. So if you want to keep your memory sharper, don’t hesitate to take a munch of peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds or squash seeds because they contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that can help think more clearly. In addition to these, nuts and seeds are also rich sources of Vitamin E, thiamine and magnesium that are all known to keep our brains in tip-top shape. Just be careful with the salt content especially if you’re hypertensive.
According to experts, two three tablespoons of pure cocoa that is usually found in dark chocolates are enough to keep our brain healthy. Cocoa has natural-occurring antioxidants called flavonols that increases the blood flow towards the brain. The caffeine that you can get from dark chocolates also helps to increase mental alertness and overall brain functioning. It also stimulates the production of happy hormones called endorphins so dark chocolates can literally lift up your moods.
A lot of people believe that avocado is only a fruit with pure fats but unbeknownst to many, avocados can also play a significant role in keeping our brain activities up and running. This is because the fats that can be found in avocados are not necessarily bad fats but monounsaturated fats that keep the blood freely flowing from the heart towards the brain. Good circulation is vital for any brain activity so conditions that disrupt the normal blood flow like hypertension can lead to poor brain performance. But lucky for us; avocados are also known to decrease blood pressure by providing stability in our circulatory system. Moderation (roughly 1/2 serving avocado in a daily meal) is the key to keep avocados from adding to much calories in the body.
According to Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, blueberries can help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. A cup of blueberries a day is also known to improve one’s learning abilities and motor skills so a delectable blueberry dessert must be the perfect choice if you want to harness your brain powers.