Food 11 brain foods that benefit memory, concentration, and mood
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- "Brain foods" are the most helpful items to eat or drink for optimal brain health.
- The three best brain foods are blueberries, walnuts, and fatty fish.
- Vegetarians can get similar brain benefits from eating healthy fats like olive oil and avocados.
The foods we eat can significantly affect our mood, emotions, and cognitive abilities.is a term used to describe the most helpful items to eat and drink for optimal brain health. These foods can help strengthen brain functions such as memory, concentration, and more.
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Many of these foods contain healthy components such aswhich can help fend off Others may be high in which stimulate the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain while also decreasing .
"The key is eating non-processed foods, which unfortunately comprise most of the standard American diet," says, associate professor of family community and preventive medicine at the Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. "Once you get into real foods, there are nutrients, chemicals, and healthy fats that help brain function. The three big winners are blueberries, walnuts, and fatty fish."
With that in mind, below is a list of the top foods to eat for a healthy brain, and what makes them so nutritious.
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Berries pack a big nutritious punch, mostly thanks to a, which are the that give red, purple, and blue plants their color.
These bite-sized fruits can reduce inflammation, preserve brain cells, and helpscells communicate - and in turn, reduce the risk for neurodegenerative diseases like
According to Marbasti, blueberries have the most health benefits. While the majority of controlled human trials have studied, other common berries that have been found to boost brain health include:
What the research says: According to a study published in, the natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory elements of berries reduce stress and inflammation in the brain.
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Many types of nuts are brain-healthy snacks that are. This protects the brain from an imbalance in the body that can lead to cell and tissue damage.
in particular help with memory, anxiety, and learning. They contain large amounts of a plant-based fatty acid called that has anti-inflammatory effects.
Aside from walnuts, the best nuts for brain health:
The human brain is, so it needs plenty of healthy fats to function well.
Fish like salmon and mackerel contain- the type of omega-3 fatty acid by the brain - compared to plant-based sources, like flax seeds.
Omega-3 fats, including the building of cell membranes in your brain that protect from deterioration.
Eggs are arich in the essential nutrient choline, which is needed by .
is converted into a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which plays a role in brain functions like memory and focus. Though many people eat only egg whites to reduce calorie and fat intake, yolks are where the high concentrations of choline are found.
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Leafy green salad bases containof nutrients like , lutein, and vitamin E, which protect the brain against cognitive decline.
suggests about one daily serving of leafy greens can slow age-related memory loss.
The best leafy greens for brain health are those packed with antioxidants and vitamins like, which is known for its effects on eye and brain health. Other leafy greens include:
- Collard greens
What the research says:suggests one daily serving of leafy greens may slow age-related memory loss.
Whether scooped right from the pumpkin or bought separately,are a brain-healthy snack to keep around, as long as they are not roasted with extra sugar as that may take away from the beneficial antioxidants.
They are rich in, which aids in regulating the , helping the formation of memories.
does more than provide an early-morning . The caffeine in coffee is to better concentration, improved mood, increased energy, and the prevention of cognitive decline.
However, caffeine should be consumed in moderation. The FDA400 milligrams a day - that's about four or five cups of coffee. Exceeding that amount can have negative side effects such as an upset stomach, headaches, and insomnia. It is best to drink coffee with a little cream, milk, or sugar to get the most benefits. Specialty coffees should be saved for a special occasion as they are often calorie-dense and high in sugar, which increases inflammation.
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Long known for its health benefits,has been to reduce anxiety and improve memory and attention.
This is partly due to caffeine, but green tea also contains a plant chemical called L-theanine, whichcalmness and reduces tension.
Because green teathan coffee, more can safely be consumed - up to eight cups a day compared to four or five.
This vitamin C-rich fruit isn't just good for the common cold. Thein oranges and other fruits and vegetables - such as bell peppers, strawberries, Brussel sprouts and broccoli - also plays a in mood and memory.
It may also protect against, Alzheimer's disease, , and Huntington's which may all have negative effects on brain function.
. Curcumin, a compound that gives this spice its gold color, has been to help fight Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers haveturmeric to improved memory and mood in people with age-related memory loss. In a , people ranging in age from 51-84 were split into two groups: those who took 90 mg of curcumin twice daily for 18 months, and those who did not. Those who took the curcumin showed improved memory and focus.
This treat is much healthier than its milk- and white-chocolate counterparts. That's because it contains, a type of flavonoid, which is a plant-based substance with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
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One comprehensivefound dark chocolate improved memory, brain blood flow, and oxygen levels. It has also been to improve depression, anxiety, and enhance feelings of calmness.
When it comes to getting the right nutrients for your brain, it is important to avoid what Marbasti calls "Frankenfoods" - in other words,that have undergone many changes to their natural state. These are generally thought to be inferior to unprocessed foods, and are often pre-packaged, containing many ingredients, artificial colors, flavors, or other chemical additives.
Instead, stick to foods in their raw state, like fruits, vegetables, and fish. For vegetarians, Marbasti says they can get the same type of brain benefits from eating other healthy fats like olive oil and avocados.
"When I say, 'eat the rainbow,' I don't mean colorful candy," Marbasti says. "Make sure you get plenty of nuts, seeds, and berries, and throw in some greens. Refined grains and excess sugar won't do anything good for brain health."
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A new study finds that eating "Western diet" foods can slow the benefits of a Mediterranean Diet and make the brain age faster.Published in Alzheimer's&Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association on Jan. 7, 2021, the study looked at the effect of "Western diet" foods on older adults. These include fried foods, sweets, red and processed meats, full-fat dairy. Following a strict Mediterranean diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and legumes and limiting other kinds of foods is equal to the brain being 5.8 years younger, scientists found.