Brain foods: Eating to boost brain function

Feeding your mind is just as essential as feeding the rest of your body. Scientific research continues to demonstrate the myriad of ways that specific foods can benefit specific parts of the body.

Many foods may even have the potential to protect brain function as the body ages.

Nuts and seeds

Unsalted nuts and seeds are smarter snacks than you may have thought. Sure, they’re nutritious and practical to carry in a handbag or backpack, but they are also healthy eats for your brain. According to research, nuts and seeds such as cashews, flaxseed, walnuts, and sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E. As people age, their cognitive function may diminish, but research suggests that diets high in vitamin E are linked to strong cognitive function.

Blueberries

Whether you’re old or young, you’re likely to benefit from the healthful properties of blueberries. Delicious and handy, blueberries can protect the brain from the destructive effects of oxidation. Research suggests that blueberries may even have the power to diminish the destructive forces of Alzheimer’s and dementia. A Tufts University study found that people could sharpen their memory by simply eating a half cup of blueberries each day.

Salmon

Wild salmon can also help reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Research suggests it can even reduce the risk of stroke. The Omega-3 fatty acids in wild salmon are important as they allow the brain to function normally. And, because salmon contains DHA, decosahexaenoic acid, it helps guard against oxidation. Studies have shown that children who eat fatty fish a couple times a week do better in school than kids who do not.

Rosemary

With its myriad of nutrients, fatty acids, and amino acids, rosemary is a herb to keep as a kitchen staple. Studies have shown that rosemary has the ability to increase blood flow to the brain. This extra blood flow results in better concentration. Moreover, rosemary has anti-inflammatory properties and can also stimulate the immune system.

Spinach

Spinach already enjoys a reputation as a super food, but it even has the ability to improve a person’s learning capacity. Some studies have shown that spinach can also enhance motor skills. Moreover, this nutrient-rich vegetable can help protect essential processes of the brain from neurological conditions or stroke. Spinach also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect the brain from oxidation as a person ages.

Other foods that are known brain-boosters include chocolate, tea, cranberries, strawberries, broccoli, sweet potatoes, oats, egg yolks, tomatoes, and whole grain foods. Since many of these foods can positively enhance other parts of the body, it makes sense to incorporate them into your diet on a regular basis.

Want more information? Health promotion organizations, such as the Heart Foundation, freely distribute healthy food information. Visit their websites to request free information packs.

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