The brain is the control center of the body which makes humans think, and feel. It keeps the heart beating, lungs breathing and allows the body organs to move, and sense. Although there is no magic pill to prevent cognitive decline, nutritionists emphasize that the most important strategy one can follow to boost the brain, memory, and focus is to take a healthy diet plan including a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Let’s find out the beneficial and harmful foods and drinks for the brain health.
What Is Brain Food?
Brain foods are those that are packed with antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals and provide the brain with energy. These foods also help in protecting brain cells, which helps ward off the development of brain diseases. A nutritious diet can create a considerable number of essential hormones and neurotransmitters which can influence cognitive abilities.
Top 10 Foods for Brain, Memory, & Focus
Fatty fish is at the top of the list of brain foods that are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. About 60% of the brain is made of fat, and half of that fat consists of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help to build brain and nerve cells, and these fats are essential for learning and memory. Plus omega-3 fatty acids may slow age-related mental decline and help ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
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Oily fish like tuna, salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, etc contain omega-3 fatty acids. Among the local fishes, Hilsa fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA.
Coffee’s two main components namely caffeine and antioxidants can help support brain health. Caffeine has a number of positive effects on the brain. It can increase alertness by keeping the brain alert by blocking adenosine (a chemical messenger that makes One feel sleepy).
Moreover, this beverage can improve mood by boosting some of the “feel-good” neurotransmitters like dopamine and sharpened concentration.
Turmeric is a deep-yellow spice that is a main ingredient in curry powder. It has huge health benefits for the brain as it has curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) helps to cross the blood-brain barrier, which means it can directly enter the brain and benefit the cells there.
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It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that can benefit memory, eases depression, and helps new brain cells grow.
Broccoli is rich in amazing plant compounds, including antioxidants, and vitamin K. It has a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for forming sphingolipids (a type of fat) that are massively packed into brain cells and vitamin K intake to improve memory and cognitive status.
One will get powerful antioxidants from pumpkin seeds that protect the body and brain from free-radical damage. One will also get magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper from these seeds.
Zinc is an important element for nerve signaling and zinc deficiency can cause many neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and Parkinson’s disease.
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Magnesium is also essential for learning and memory and low magnesium levels can cause many neurological diseases such as migraine, depression, and epilepsy. Copper helps control nerve signals and iron deficiency is often characterized by brain fog and impaired brain function.