A healthy brain is crucial for almost every aspect of a person’s wellbeing. People often strive to employ different techniques designed to strengthen their mental capacity. One of the easiest and most direct methods of accomplishing this task is through consuming foods known for improving brain function.

We have listed below a few brain-strengthening foods, the important nutrients contained within them and how these substances contribute to better cognitive function.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are among the most brain healthy foods one can consume. Many of these items contain a high-water content.

  • A person needs to maintain a proper hydration level to keep his or her memory and ability to concentrate sharp. Water-abundant fruits and vegetables include watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers, and celery.
  • In addition, several fruits and vegetables possess a high content of antioxidants, which protect brain cells and have been reported to provide people with a certain level of protection from serious mental illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables include blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach.
  • Many fruits and vegetables also contain essential vitamins necessary for optimal brain health. Blackcurrants, citrus fruits and red peppers possess Vitamin C, which has been noted to strengthen mental capacity and slow down age-related brain deterioration.
  • Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and prunes are high in Vitamin K, a substance known for enhancing one’s ability to think.
  • Vitamin E also aids in slowing age-related cognitive deterioration. This nutrient can be found in asparagus, olives, green vegetables, and fish.
  • Some fish are well-known for containing significant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. These substances are said to reduce an individual’s risk of developing depression, as well as improve mood and overall ability to concentrate.
  • Fish also possess iron, which helps improve memory. One might consider consuming brain healthy fishes such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, herring, and trout.

Meat, Poultry and Eggs
Beef, chicken and turkey contain high levels of iron. Eggs contain cholesterol, which serves two major capacities in brain health. First, the substance helps to formulate brain cell membranes. Second, cholesterol is also an antioxidant.

Beans, Seeds and Nuts
Walnuts and almonds contain high concentrations of both Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids. Beans, particularly soybeans, are high in iron.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, an essential dietary mineral that contributes to a person’s ability to think and possess a clearer memory. These seeds also contain Vitamin B and tryptophan, which aids the brain in creating the mood improving chemical serotonin.

Grains
Arguably, the most important nutrient contained in grain products like wheat and oats is carbohydrates. When broken down by the body, these substances provide energy to the organs, most notably the brain, translating in stronger mental alertness. In addition, Vitamin E is abundant in grains. One might find grains in foods such as bran cereals, pasta, oatmeal, and wheat products.

Spices
Sage is noted for improving the memory and concentration of those who consume it. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant with strong brain cell preservation properties that has been used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Oils
Olive oil contains numerous antioxidants. Coconut oil improves the brain’s ability to utilize energy and contains elevated levels of saturated fats, which helps brain cell membranes function properly.

Vitamin Supplements
Regardless of how healthy or complete one’s diet is, he or she is still likely to benefit from the use of vitamin supplements. Vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid are considered good brain strengthening supplements. These substances are believed to help people limit their chances of developing serious brain related issues like strokes, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Keeping one’s brain strong and healthy is important to long-term health, especially as a person ages. Fortunately, individuals can take a giant step in accomplishing this task by eating foods containing nutrients known for enhancing the brain’s power and protecting it from diseases.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Katlyn Lytle Rushing, PA-C

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