You read everywhere that a healthy diet is important for your well being. From a self development point of view, did you realise that certain foods are good for your brain as they can affect your mental performance?
As you get older your brain ages in that you are more likely to experience cognitive problems and brain dysfunction. It is believed that unlike genetic factors that cannot be controlled, you can help to keep your brain in tip top condition by what you eat.
You probably already know what foods make you feel sluggish and which seem to give your brain an energy boost. Several studies have now been done on the effect of food on the power of your mind. Here are some ‘brain foods’ that have been investigated:
High in magnesium, they produce better blood flow to the brain and help your processing.
High levels of zinc. Minor zinc deficiencies have been shown to impair memory.
The acai berry is probably the most talked about but blueberries, blackberries and cranberries are all known for their antioxidants that assist in the preservation of brain cells. Containing flavonoids, they protect brain cells from free radicals and help you to retain data and information. They have also been found to increase learning capacity and motor skills.
High in flavanols which increase blood flow and improve concentration, verbal and visual memory. It also has powerful antioxidant properties and stimulates the production of endorphins that help to improve your mood.
Yolks contain choline which helps regulate the brain and nervous system by acting as a messenger between muscles and nerves. This is believed to boost cell production improving learning, memory and cognition. The selenium in organic eggs is thought to help your mood.
Has a protective antioxidant effect on the brain. It improves blood flow to your brain, making thinking easier, improves brain function and prevents long term degeneration of the brain’s frontal lobes.
Is believed to improve cognitive function and may help prevent degenerative diseases of the brain. It is a natural anti-inflammatory food. The antioxidants in ground cloves, cinnamon, dried oregano and turmeric also help to protect the brain and improve cognition.
GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES
High in iron. Iron-deficiency is linked to tiredness, poor mood, foggy thinking and other cognitive issues. Examples include spinach and kale, rich in protein and free-radical fighting antioxidants.
Almonds, cashews and hazelnuts in particular are high in vitamin E which is essential to cognition and improves energy and mental alertness. Nuts also provide a great source of protein and hence the amino acids needed in neurotransmitter production.
A ‘healthy fat’ that is believed essential for clear thinking, good memory and a balanced mood. (Avoiding fat can increase foggy thinking, mood swings, and insomnia.)
Rich in selenium, magnesium, protein and other nutrients important for brain health. Research has shown significantly improved cognition and mood.
The juice is full of antioxidants which are essential for a healthy brain.
This herb helps to provide protection from brain disease, strokes and neuro-degeneration. Its antioxidants fight free radicals, the toxic by-products of natural cell metabolism.
Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in blood flow and enhance memory. Studies have shown more alertness, better memory, improved cognition, less depression and anxiety, and reduced risk of degenerative mental diseases.
Essential for cell growth, blood production and preventing memory loss. It contains nutrients that slow down the effects of premature aging by preventing the negative effects of oxidation on the brain.
Improve mental agility as well as your mood as they contain thiamine which enhances memory and thinking skills. Seeds generally are packed with protein, healthy fats and vitamin E which are good for general brain function. They also contain brain-boosting magnesium and stress-reducing antioxidants.
The antioxidant properties of green and black tea dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to the brain. Tea has also been found to enhance your focus and mood, and to promote mental relaxation.
The lycopene in tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant that fights disease by neutralizing free radicals, the molecules that damage or destroy brain cells. Tomatoes have been found to improve memory and brain function.
A rich source of Omega 3 plus the highest level of vitamin B6 of any food. Studies have shown B6 to be directly correlated with memory, cognition and long term brain health, as well as being important for balancing mood.
Contains amino acids that encourage the production of neurotransmitters. Studies have indicated a growth of brain tissue while slowing down the aging process.
High levels of Omega 3 which prevents the decline of cognitive and motor function, increases brain resiliency and improves cell functioning. It also balances the unstable neurotransmitters that can cause depression and other mood swings.
Research suggests that certain foods can improve memory, neural integrity, focus, concentration, reaction time, alertness, etc., by keeping neural pathways in the brain healthy and high-functioning. For your own self development it is useful to be aware of this in order to keep both your body and mind in tip top condition.