Our choices of foods matter for overall well-being, moods, appearance to brain function. When striving for staying mentally sharp for learning, memory and slowing down brain aging, these foods are six of the best for brain health.
Mushrooms are at the top of the list due to their amazing array of micronutrients that keep the immune system healthy. They also can protect the brain against cognitive decline that is possibly linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Thanks to their specialized bioactives, including polysaccharides, peptides, and phenols, there has been fascinating research how adding mushrooms, especially white button, golden, oyster or shiitake mushrooms can boost nerve growth and improve thought processing. According to one Chinese study just one cup of mushrooms per week showed promising results to strengthen memory performance by 50% and cognitive impairment. Another interesting study went further and suggested that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) could possibly benefit from Hericium erinaceus, or the monkey head mushroom.
Dark chocolate is another wonderful choice for brain health due to its plant flavonoids and antioxidants. This food is already great for lowering blood pressure and preventing heart disease, but to those natural compounds, it also helps with learning, memory and the brain to be mentally stimulated and younger. Yet, you also need to exert some caution due to some brands that may have high levels of cadmium and lead according to a 2022 article in Consumer Reports. For this reason, you may want to check out their list of the brands to avoid, especially if you eat the dark chocolate daily.
Nuts are next when naming the best foods for assisting with brain performance due to their superior brain-enhancing nutrients and bounty of vitamin E that also can safeguard those cells from deteriorating as rapidly for slower brain aging. Walnuts, in particular, are the best for aiding brain health because of their unique omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which can also lower blood pressure and cleanse plague from the arteries.
Fruits from apples, citrus to berries are all ideal foods for their low calories, fighting blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease while helping digestion due to all their fiber. Apples just like oranges contain vitamin C to prevent cognitive decline, but quercetin, an antioxidant that helps keep neurotransmitters working for optimal healthy brain function. Berries, grapes and cherries are a rich source of flavonoids that have been proven to improve memory. The darker the berry, the more benefits these type of fruit provide the brain.
Something else to boost cognitive functioning is eating more fatty fish. The reason this food can help is because of all the omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce blood levels of beta-amyloid, a protein that has a tendency to create harmful clumps in the brain of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The best varieties are salmon, canned light tuna and pollock that have the least amount of mercury.
Coffee often gets a bad rap for our health. However, its caffeine raises serotonin and acetylcholine that help galvanize the brain and steady how blood flows. In addition, it has polyphenols to keep brain tissues healthier and safeguard against blockages in those crucial blood vessels.
If you are trying to keep your memory sharp and learning processes at their best, then these six foods for brain health are worth supplementing your diet with. You also may want to read my earlier post on the best brain snacks when that urge hits. After all, food is nature’s medicine.