Get Smart with a List of 12 Delicious Brain Healthy Foods
Taking care of your brain may be as simple as eating the right foods, and consuming proper amounts of vitamins and other nutrients to support your heart, brain and muscles, too. Consistent exercise and other regular healthy habits (sound sleep) will help bolster your brain, too.
Here are our top 12 foods that are very beneficial for brain (and heart) health. They’re also delicious!
Fruits and Vegetables, Best Foods for Brain Health
- Spinach and leafy greens. These nutrient-dense vegetables are rich in magnesium, which helps dilate blood vessels, and boost blood flow to the brain.
- Asparagus. An incredible source of folate, asparagus is energy for your brain! Studies show that people with lower levels of folate tend to be more likely to experience depression.
- Oranges. Your body can’t naturally make vitamin C, but it’s an essential nutrient for eyesight and healthy brain cells, so eat up. Oranges are also rich in flavonoids, shown to improve memory and cognition.
- Blueberries. Cancer-fighting antioxidants in many berries help protect the brain from oxidative stress (and toxic pollutants) believed to reduce risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Studies suggest blueberries support learning capability and motor skills.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids May be a Brain’s Best Friend
Omega-3 fatty acids play crucial roles in reducing bad cholesterol, decreasing inflammation, and asthma, among other conditions. There’s a balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids you should know about.
- Walnuts. Consume them in whole form, with the skin on, for maximum polyphenols. These little nuts are full of Omega-3 fatty acids which lower your risk for depression, can help you sleep better, and increase memory.
- Salmon. Naturally high in Omega-3, these keep your brain full and fit. Studies show that people with low levels of Omega-3 have smaller brains than those with high levels.
- Olive Oil. High in monounsaturated fats and polyphenols, consuming olive oil has natural anti-inflammatory benefits and has been shown to help improve memory.
- Flaxseed. A great source of protein and fiber, this little seed is also a good source of vitamin E, which can help decrease cognitive decline.
- Avocado. This incredibly underrated fruit, is full of healthy fats that help to normalize blood pressure and cranial blood flow. Healthy blood flow means a healthier brain. (And good guacamole can’t be beat!)
Can Chocolate Actually Be Good for You?
- Dark Chocolate. It’s true, chocolate is a health food! Just a few ounces of organic cocoa can help improve blood circulation to the brain. It also stimulates “get happy” endorphin production and increases antioxidants.
- Peppermint. This food doesn’t even need to be eaten, based on its aromatic properties. Whether eaten, chewed, or smelled, peppermint can increase both alertness and memory, while improving reasoning and problem solving kills.
- Green Tea. Antioxidants in green tea help decrease toxic free radicals and encourages healthy blood flow. Drinking green tea in some studies has been shown to potentially decrease the risk for dementia and it may help curb cognitive decline. Always brew fresh leaves – powdered drinks will not provide brain health benefits.
Taking care of your brain may be as easy as eating healthy meals, drinking plenty of water (and tea), and ramping up that exercise routine. Find 100 brain-healthy recipes in Tana Amen’s and Dr. Amen’s newest book, The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook.
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