With so many products touting their concentration-enhancing or memory-jogging capabilities, individuals often forget the best source of nourishment. What is this magic weapon? Food. Reading classic novels can improve your intellect, but eating a diet rich in brain-boosting foods can help as well. Nutrient-dense cuisine improves mood, cognitive functions, brain health, and overall well-being. To jump-start brain power consider the top 7 best brain foods:
- Wild SalmonThe brain is composed of a substantial amount of essential fatty acids and needs a steady stream of these acids to function optimally. Wild salmon is one of the purest, most potent forms of essential fatty acids, including Omega-3. Wild salmon is source of two important Omega-3s, DHA and EPA. While it is wise to avoid farm-raised salmon, wild salmon is also high in protein and vitamin D. These nutrients are vital to brain function, memory, learning, and structure. Whipping up some Indian fish curry using salmon can be a great way to integrate the food into the diet.
- Indian GooseberryAlso known as the amalaki, Indian gooseberry has long been used as an ayurvedic herbal remedy. Amalaki enhances mental functioning and intellect. It also boosts memory and coordination. This powerhouse of antioxidants has large quantities of tannins, as well as other polyphenols. The berry is typically used to make chutney.
- Cacao BeansThough associated with chocolate, very little cacao is actually found in processed, mass-market chocolate. It’s important to purchase non-alkalized, unprocessed, organic coco powder from a high-end company or even raw cacao beans. High-quality dark chocolate bars with at least 75-percent cacao also fit the bill. Cacao beans contain an exceptional level of antioxidants, flavonoids, magnesium, and chromium. Cacao beans improve cognitive functions and have been shown to improve mood and promote feelings of well-being.
- BlueberriesThese tiny berries pack a wallop. The antioxidants in blueberries combat free radical damage. The nutrients also enhance memory and learning ability and slow age-related decreases in coordination, motor skills, and even balance. They have also been shown to lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Switching things up with a blueberry chutney can go a long way towards getting the recommended one cup per day of the fruit.
- TurmericThis curry spice contains the antioxidant curcumin, which stops the buildup of protein, known as amyloid plaques, in the brain’s neural pathways. It has been shown to aid in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, while also boosting current brain power. In studies, those who consumed curry regularly performed better on brain tests than those who didn’t.
- SpinachThis leafy green is well-known for its host of health benefits. Its high antioxidant levels and combination of potassium, magnesium, vitamins B6 and B12, and folic acid make it the perfect brain food. Spinach helps the body produce red blood cells that infuse the brain with oxygen. This keeps the brain sharp, alert, and open to learning. Dishes, such as palak paneer, are a tasty way to feast on spinach.
- Nuts and SeedsNuts and seeds contain protein and vitamin E. Protein is essential for brain health. Vitamin E has been proven to slow the decline in brain power that accompanies aging. Try consuming an ounce of nuts or seeds per day. If sodium is an issue, opt for unsalted versions. Walnuts, flax seeds, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, tahini, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and basically any nut, seed, or un-hydrogenated nut butter will do.