Foods for Brain Health

Foods For Brain Health

The human brain is the central command center for our nervous system. It contains close to 90 billion nerve cells and communicates with all of the organs and muscles in the body. Our brains are the most complicated part of our bodies and are responsible for language, learning, memory, emotions and social interactions. It is easy for us all to agree that brain health is incredibly important, and without it we don’t have much else!

With that being said, the health of this critical organ is closely related to our lifestyle choices, environment, and the foods that we choose to eat or avoid. This is exciting news, because it means that we can all be proactive in improving our brain health. So just what should you include in your diet to boost your brainpower?

Omega-3 Foods

Whether you are interested in biochemistry or not, chances are that you have heard the term omega-3 used in relation to food. This type of dietary fat has received an enormous amount of attention in recent years, and rightfully so. Omega-3 fats have a host of benefits including lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides, and improved blood vessel function, but can also have a healthful impact on the brain.

In a recent study, researchers found that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may improve the function of the glymphatic system. This system is responsible for clearing waste from the brain and this could help to reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s disease.

There are a variety of plant and animal sources of omega-3 fats. Flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, and chia seeds are all great plant sources of this healthful fat. If you are looking for animals that are high in omega-3, seafood such as salmon, sardines, and tuna are all wonderful choices.

Blueberries

Blueberries have been known to be hugely beneficial to our health for years, but recent research is also pointing to their ability to positively impact brain health. These delicious berries are high in antioxidant nutrients and may help to protect nerve cells that have a high risk of oxidative damage.

A recent study of blueberries showed individuals improve their memory as well as cognitive function and access to concepts and words. Using an fMRI, researchers were able to see an increase in brain activity in a group that included blueberries in their diet. Blueberries may also help memory in the short term, and can assist in a person’s ability to concentrate. Just a small amount of these or other flavonoid containing berries can make all the difference!

Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables have a wide range of health benefits, but new evidence shows that these types of plants may help with brain function as well. The vitamin K found in spinach and other greens can help you to be more mentally sharp and may help slow the process of age-associated cognitive decline. This is great news, because it offers us a way to potentially protect our brains from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If you don’t like spinach, don’t worry! Kale, collard greens, and mustard greens are high in this beneficial vitamin.

Boost Your Brain Power

There are no foods that are a cure all for brain conditions or that can singlehandedly protect the brain from damage. The best thing that you can do to be proactive about your health is to eat a wide range of foods that contain the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function properly. Including foods that are high in omega-3 fats, are antioxidant rich, unprocessed, and closest to their natural state is an excellent place to start!

foods for brain health

About the author: David A. Wiss
David A. Wiss
David Wiss, MS, RDN is the founder of Nutrition in Recovery, which specializes in: Addictions, Eating Disorders, Mental Health, Body Image, and General Wellness. Mr. Wiss works closely with individuals to help them revolutionize their relationship with food and has shared his expertise with numerous eating disorder and addiction facilities throughout the greater Los Angeles area. David is a nationally recognized expert in nutrition for addiction and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Public Health from UCLA.