You already know that your diet is super important for your health. Everyone’s taught that since elementary school. But what most people are taught about is how the body relies on food for its sustenance and energy. Most school programs don’t give the same amount of class dedicated to educating people about how the brain uses food.
Just like any other part of the body, the brain requires blood, oxygen, and nutrients to do its job. And just like any other part of the body, the brain likes certain types of nutrients more than others. That means that there are some type of foods which are particularly juicy for somebody hping to improve their overall brain health.
How does food affect the brain?
The brain is particularly fond of foods that contain nutrients that act as antiinflammatories. This is particularly true for people who consider themselves to have high stress levels – the body releases cytokines in response to stress, which, in turn, trigger inflammation.
Inflammation, when it’s necessary, helps the body fight off pathogens and promotes the immune response. When it’s not necessary, such as when you’re stressed, your brain and body just gets unnecessarily swollen and it makes it harder to function. As far as mental health goes, chronic inflammation is associated with anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairments.
So that means that you’re going to want to eat foods that are high in antioxidants, especially those that can fight inflammation, healthy fats like the omega-3s which are fantastic antiinflammatories, and other vitamins and minerals that can bolster the strength of your command center.
That’s what we’re going to be looking at today. These foods are the best at improving memory, and we’re going to explain how and why each one does what it does.
The first thing on this list is avocados, because they’re every bit as healthy for you they are delicious. Avocados contain some of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids for any fruit or vegetable on the planet.
A lot of people write off avocados for this reason, thinking that they’re bad news because they have fat. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Good fats like the omega-3s are known for reducing cholesterol levels and inflammation and improving blood flow throughout the body.
Furthermore, the brain is composed of a significant portion of fat, so if you don’t have enough, you’re literally not having a full barin.
Avocados also contain significant amounts of vitamin K and folate, which help to prevent blood from clotting in your skull. They’re also known to enhance memory and focus.
Beets are another fantastic food for people hoping to keep their brains in top shape. Beets are particularly potent as anti inflammatory agents, and they’re loaded with antioxidants. Most importantly, beets are high in nitrates, which help encourage blood flow and keep oxygen coming to and from the brain.
Blueberries have been touted for quite a while as one of the densest sources of antioxidants in the entire world. Some of the nutrients they’re packed with include vitamin C and vitamin K. Vitamin C can’t be stored by your body and needs to be replenished everyday; it also acts as an antioxidant that’s fantastic at disarming free radicals.
One of the unique compounds in blueberries is known as gallic acid, which helps to keep your brain shielded against age-related degenerative illnesses like Alzheimer’s.
While it might seem a bit creepy, bone broth is actually one of the best foods for healing your brain. It does it indirectly ,through, which is interesting. Bone broth is one of the ultimate tools that someone can use to heal their gut. A healthy gut is necessary for the metabolization and absorption of all the nutrients in your diet, so if you have an unhealthy gut, you’ll have an unhealthy brain.
A lot of people are apprehensive about using supplements or foods that impact gut health in an effort to heal their brain. It just feels weird, taking something like a probiotic and hoping it will act like a nootropic. Nonetheless, if you’re suffering from cognitive fatigue, it might be from nutritional deficiencies from an unhealthy gut.
Think about it – if your gut isn’t able to properly absorb nutrients, then you can’t properly absorb any nutrients. You’d be at high risk for not just one but many nutritional deficiencies, many of which can affect cognitive health.
Eggs are the best natural sources of choline, which is a compound necessary for the body to create acetylcholine.
You’ve probably already heard of choline and might know about the cholinergic system; the respective neurotransmitter system which uses acetylcholine as its primary messenger. The cholinergic system is what’s responsible for our ability to think, remember, learn, understand, use logic, and perform basically any other cognitive task.
Choline is very hard to get in the diet, and vegetarians often have a very hard time getting enough. However, if you eat a couple of eggs a week, you’ll have no problem getting the choline that you need.
Dark chocolate is so good for your brain that we actually wrote an entire article just on how dark chocolate improves your mental health. It’s jam packed full of antioxidants, flavonols and phytonutrients, and all sorts of goodies that can help keep you in top cognitive shape.
It’s also got caffeine in it, but not in the same concentration as you’d find in coffee. Plus, the caffeine comes alongside some theobromine, which is often referred to as caffeine’s little brother. Theobromine isn’t associated with the same jittery side effects that caffeine is known for.
The two of these, combined with the antioxidants in dark chocolate, make it fantastic for improving cognition over the long term. The best way to see these benefits would be to consume cocoa nibs on a regular basis. They’re not the tastiest, but they’ll pack enough of a cognitive benefit for you to notice.