Photo Courtesy of Medioimages/Photodisc/ThinkstockThe holidays are coming up, and with all of the stress that comes with entertaining and shopping for the luxury gifts you plan to shower your friends and family with, you’re going to need to hold on to your sanity. That means getting enough sleep, exercising, and keeping a balanced diet— one that your brain, specifically, will benefit from. We already know what foods are best for upping your fiber intake or curing a cold, but what items in your pantry will boost your brain power? If this question has been at the tip of your tongue for a while now, relax your boggled noggin and read on to find out.
This is the item that you’ll find at the top of almost any brain-related diet list, because it’s well known that the fatty acids found in fish and seafood can improve your brain’s function— memory included— by 15 percent. The reason why oily fish is so important is that it contains DHA, which is one of the most highly-concentrated fats in the brain— however this isn’t produced effectively by our bodies. So in order to maintain optimal brain health and ward off dementia, it’s essential to get a healthy dose of DHA in the form of fish like trout, mackerel and sardines at least twice per week. And if you happen to be someone who can’t stand the thought of seafood, take solace in the fact that DHA is also abundant in eggs, yogurt, walnut oil and flaxseeds. Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Nuts, Seeds, and Other Oils
Vitamin E is another important antioxidant for the brain, as it’s believed to help prevent poor memory. The main point to note here, though, is that it’s moderate amounts of Vitamin E from food— not supplements— that provide nourishment to your nervous system. These foods include avocados, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds— all of which have extra benefits like tryptophan, which the brain converts to serotonin, and zinc, which is another brain power booster. Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Need one more excuse to eat these delicious superfoods? As you may already know, berries contain antioxidants that help protect cells from free-radical damage and help give your brain super powers. Blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are the best for preserving your memory, as their antioxidants protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s by protecting brain neurons and flushing out waste. Blueberries have the added memory-enhancing phytochemical, anthocyanin, and the Vitamin C in blackberries is thought to increase mental agility. Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto/Thinkstock
If you like to start your morning with a steaming bowl of oatmeal, you’ve got the right idea— its fiber and glucose levels stabilize blood sugar levels, and give your brain the fuel it needs to concentrate. Other whole grains like cereals, wheatbran and wheatgerm are other great breakfast options, as they not only speed up the metabolism, but also ward off other health issues like diabetes and heart disease. Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Leafy and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy and brussels spouts are filled with powerful brain protectors called carotenoids, as well as always-important antioxidants and Vitamin C. Broccoli also contains Vitamin K, quercetin and folic acid, which enhance brain power and function. Veggies that contain folic acid like spinach and beets help improve memory and the speed at which your noggin processes information. And for the serotonin-boosting phytochemical I mentioned earlier, look to anything purple or red in color, including eggplant, red onion, and cherries, as well as red, purple and black grapes. Photo Courtesy of Hemera/Thinkstock