Attaining super brain powers is a myth. There is no single pill that can enhance your brain power. However, Nature has bestowed different food substances with the ability to keep your brain sharp and prevent cognitive decline as you age. Let’s talk about 7 simple foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet in order to improve your brain health.
Fish is a rich source of omega fatty acids. These fatty acids play key roles in maintaining brain functions by preventing age-related decline of brain matter1. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, and sardines etc are packed with healthy fatty acids and can help boost your mental health.
Believe it or not, coffee helps enhance your mental capabilities. Packed with the natural goodness of caffeine, theophylline and potent antioxidants, coffee helps increase concentration and attention. Caffeine can boost your mood by acting on mood-controlling areas of the brain. Research shows that long-term consumption of coffee in moderation can help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease2.
Berries have abundant amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids in them. These antioxidants help counter the oxidative damage of the brain cells. Berries have been shown to have a positive impact on brain aging and behavior3. Blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are especially rich in flavonoids.
The myth that walnuts improve brain health since they look like the human brain has actually been backed up by science. Walnuts contain ample amounts of polyphenols which combat the oxidative and inflammatory stress, thereby preserving the structure of brain cells. They also help improve signaling within brain pathways. The result is enhanced mental capabilities4.
An essential part of South Asian cuisine, turmeric plays a vital role in improving brain health via its powerful antioxidant potential. It has been demonstrated to improve the cognitive functions of the brain like learning, memory, and attention etc., especially in patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease5. Turmeric is also known to help with depression and low mood.
Eggs are an important source of choline, a molecule which plays a major role in signal transmission within the nervous system, especially the brain. Egg yolk contains the highest amount of choline. Eggs also contain several important vitamins that are essential for preservation of brain functions.
Avocados are an excellent source of natural phytochemicals that prevent the breakdown of brain cells with advancing age. Avocados have been hailed as one of the “smart foods” that prevent age related deterioration of mental health6.
● Take control of your mental health by adopting healthy dietary habits to prevent mental health decline.
● Never ignore signs and symptoms of deteriorating mental health like memory deficit, low mood, attention and concentration problems, or inability to carry out routine activities etc. Set up an appointment with a certified neurologist if you notice any such changes.
● Remember, eating healthy foods is the only key to a sound mind in a sound body.
1. Virtanen JK, Siscovick DS, Longstreth WT, Kuller LH, Mozaffarian D. Fish consumption and risk of subclinical brain abnormalities on MRI in older adults. Neurology. 2008 Aug 5;71(6):439-46.
2. Arendash GW, Cao C. Caffeine and coffee as therapeutics against Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2010 Apr 14;20(s1):S117-26.
3. Devore EE, Kang JH, Breteler MM, Grodstein F. Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Annals of neurology. 2012 Jul;72(1):135-43.
4. Poulose SM, Miller MG, Shukitt-Hale B. Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age. The Journal of nutrition. 2014 Apr 1;144(4):561S-6S.
5. Mishra S, Palanivelu K. The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology. 2008 Jan;11(1):13.
6. Ameer K. Avocado as a major dietary source of antioxidants and its preventive role in neurodegenerative diseases. InThe benefits of natural products for neurodegenerative diseases 2016 (pp. 337-354). Springer, Cham.