Your brain is a remarkable organ that runs every function in your body. Thinking, moving, breathing all rely on your brain. Ask people about eating for health and they immediately think about weight and physical fitness. Have you thought about whether your diet affects your brain health and whether choosing foods to improve brain health makes sense?
Indeed it does.
What you eat matters to overall health, and that includes brain development. Anything we can do to decrease the chance of developing diseases like dementia has to be a good thing. Foods rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates are very important for brain function.
Which Foods Are Good For Your Brain?
Antioxidant foods combat free radicals
Foods high in salt, fat, and sugar are bad for our bodies. They can cause increases in blood glucose and insulin which cause an abundance of free radicals. These free radicals can cause damage to cells. These spikes can be caused by consuming salt, fat, and sugar too often or too much all at once.
Foods that are high in antioxidants can combat these free radicals and stabilize the situation. Additionally, antioxidant foods are known to slow down the aging process, help prevent loss of vision, stroke, and heart disease. Eating foods rich in antioxidants is good for your brain’s health and intelligence.
Omega 3 fatty acids aid in learning and memory
Omega 3 fatty acids have a vital role in brain function. There are different types of Omega 3 fatty acids. DHA, or docosahexaenoic, is a primary fatty acid found in the cell membranes of the brain. Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids help the brain function well.
Diets rich in carbohydrates and fiber
Dementia and other cognitive decline seems to be on the rise. This has led to much research into the reasons. One of the questions is whether we can eat certain foods to improve brain health. There is now evidence that eating foods rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber can help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Many fad diets recommend reducing or eliminating good sources of important carbohydrates and fiber. Cutting out grains like oats, brown rice, and foods like sweet potatoes can actually create deficiencies that affect brain health. These complex carbohydrates are excellent sources of energy that your brain uses to keep peak function and health.
Foods To Improve Brain Health
Eating for brain health might be something that you haven’t given much thought to. Maybe you focus on foods that help you lose and maintain weight and stay physically fit. It may not occur to you to eat for your brain’s health too.
The important food groups for brain health are:
- Complex Carbs
- Omega Fatty Acids
So where do you find these foods?
Finding foods from each category is pretty easy. You probably eat many of these already. Adding some new foods to your diet can fill any gaps with foods to improve brain health. If you ensure you’re eating a wide variety of these foods that optimize brain function you will give yourself the best chance of keeping a healthy brain.
Foods containing Complex Carbs
Eating complex carbs fuel both your body and your brain. Some of the best sources are:
- Brown rice
- Split peas
- Cruciferous veggies
Many of these foods also contain healthy fiber that gives you the added benefit of good gut health. Keeping your digestive tract functioning well and maintaining the gut microbiome is important.
Foods rich in Antioxidants
As discussed, free radicals are dangerous for brain health. Counteracting and reducing the impact of free radicals is easier with antioxidant-rich foods which help combat this oxidative stress on your brain. Some of the best sources of antioxidant foods are:
- Leafy greens
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
As you can see there is no need to worry about finding foods rich in antioxidants. There is a wide variety of types of foods to choose from. There are many berries, beans and dark green leafy veg to choose from. You should be able to find foods that are rich in antioxidants that you enjoy.
Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids
Many of us that have struggled to lose weight know that fatty foods often taste good. Many a well intentioned dieter has been undone because foods high in fat are satisfying. They feel good in your mouth which makes eating them a pleasure. The trick is to find the fatty foods that are rich in Omega 3.
Try these Omega 3 rich foods to improve brain health.
- Fatty fish
- Flax and chia seeds
- Wild Rice
These foods are excellent for overall health and also supply nutrition for your brain.
Mix it up
Try to create menus that include foods from each of these 3 categories. Some foods offer multiple benefits. Beans, as an example, occur in all 3 categories. Have fun choosing foods that you already enjoy but incorporating new foods into your meals.
You may not need to make major changes to your meals. Just add some extra ingredients to make sure you are getting enough of the foods to improve brain health.
Water – How Hydration Helps Your Brain
Eating the right foods is important for brain health. But just as important is drinking plenty of water. Water is vital to brain health. You probably know that water keeps you hydrated but it goes further than that. Water makes your brain function well and provides a way for toxins to be removed from your brain.
Water is needed to transport nutrients to, and to remove toxins from your brain. Your brain is about 75% water, The brain needs to be well hydrated to focus, think better, and operate optimally.
If you don’t like the taste of plain water then try adding some fruit to it. You can also eat foods that are high in water content. These include foods like these:
You will know whether you are dehydrated by keeping an eye on your urine. Healthy urine should be a light straw color. If you see your urine darkening in color then it is a sign that you may be dehydrated.
Incorporating Foods To Improve Brain Health Into Your Life
As you can see it should be no hardship to add some of these foods into your daily diet. It is often said that we are what we eat. This holds true for your brain as well as the rest of your body. Maintaining good brain health is important throughout life. From helping schoolkids concentrate on exams to slowing down aging and helping prevent cognitive decline. Optimum brain health is something we should all strive for.
If you want to choose foods to improve brain health then find simple ways to add them to your daily meals. From breakfast through to your evening meal add a few extra ingredients. Your brain will thank you.