The brain plays a key role in just about every major body system. Some of its main functions include processing sensory information, remembering, problem-solving, thinking, feeling, coordination and balance, among others. So, naturally, it might as well be a good idea to keep your brain in peak working condition.
There is evidence that the foods you eat play a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration. To keep your fine brain from ageing, here’s a list of power foods you can eat.
Caffeine and antioxidants, the two main components of coffee, are good for your brain. Caffeine is known to keep your brain alert by blocking adenosine, a chemical messenger, that makes you sleepy and it can also boost some of your “feel-good” neurotransmitters like serotonin. Drinking coffee is also linked to a reduced risk of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Packed with nutrients, eggs contain choline, an important compound which helps the chemical makeup of the brain’s neurotransmitters and can improve brain function. They also contain cholesterol, which helps in forming brain cell membranes and strengthens the brain’s cells and structures.
Commonly found in Indian kitchens, this spice contains curcumin, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that has been linked to many benefits like – improving memory in people with Alzheimer’s, easing depression by boosting the production of serotonin and dopamine that are known to lift up the mood, and helping in the growth of newer brain cells.
Even if it has been under controversy of late, its benefits to the brain are well known. The fats in it break down into ketones, which can be used by the brain as energy. It also reduces free radicals. Free radicals are known to damage brain cells and result in reduced cognitive functions. Additionally, coconut oil is an excellent source of saturated fat, which has been shown to help improve brain function and protect the brain, reducing the risk of neurological disorders.
Full of antioxidants and packed with rich micronutrients, leafy greens are superfoods when it comes to feeding the brain. Vitamins A, C, and K found in leafy greens help reduce free radicals, boost brain power, and improve cell health. Folate and lutein are found in abundance in these vegetables and they help in improving the functioning of the brain.
Dry fruits, mainly, almonds and walnuts are known to boost brain health. Full of the Omega-3 fatty acids and the goodness of lean protein, it helps in providing strength and energy to the brain cells and improves cognitive function. Almonds and walnuts are also great sources of antioxidant vitamin E, that has been linked to reducing dementia and Alzheimer’s risk. Studies showed a reduced risk of up to 70% for some groups eating a high vitamin E diet.
It is said you can get all the vitamin C you need in a day by eating one medium sized orange. It is also important for your brain health since vitamin C is a key factor in preventing mental decline. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off the free radicals that can damage brain cells.
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are packed with brain-boosting compounds that include flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants. Flavonoids, which are a group of antioxidant plant compounds, help with functions such as learning and memory. Thanks to its taste and the compounds in it, chocolate is also a great mood booster.
Do not forget to keep these power foods for the brain handy the next time you have an exam to ace.