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Food for Thought: The Top 5 Brain Foods to Improve Cognitive Function

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Do you sometimes experience mental fog? Do you find it hard to recall facts or remember dates or tasks you need to accomplish? Maybe your problem is focus; you just can’t seem to do it.

Part of the problem may be your diet. You might not be receiving all the nutrients your body’s “control panel”, the brain, needs to function optimally.

Fortunately, there are food items that can enhance the brain’s function. You can incorporate these five superfoods into your diet and boost your cognitive power, to minimize brain fog, improve your focus, and raise your memory recall.

1. Fatty Fish

This recommendation may sound outlandish, considering fat isn’t generally good for your heart and not beneficial to any part of your body when eaten in excess. However, there are good fats and bad ones, and the ones found in certain fish are healthy, especially for your heart and brain.

Fatty Fish

Fatty Fish

Prime examples of fish with good fat include the following:

  • Sardines
  • Albacore tuna
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Interestingly, your brain consists of almost 60 percent fat, as noted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Of that fat, about half of it is omega-3 fatty acid, which is the same fat you receive from fatty fish.

Additionally, as your brain is building nerve and brain cells, it’s using omega-3s, making this substance essential for learning and memory.

Plus, research published on NIH’s website shows a connection between eating fish regularly and an increase in gray matter in the brain. This gray matter is where a majority of the nerve cells responsible for memory, emotion, and decision-making are.

2. Turmeric

While it’s not necessarily a food, it’s a seasoning in many Indian dishes like Chettinad chicken curry and chicken drumsticks with ginger and turmeric.

Apart from its use as food flavoring, this earthy-tasting, yellow-pigmented seasoning is a natural way to combat inflammation in your joints.

However, turmeric also has various benefits for the brain, such as its ability to improve your memory. In studies, it’s shown to help amyloid plaque, the substance that forms between the neurons that prohibits them from communicating.

Additionally, curcumin, another name for turmeric, assists in the growth of brain cells by enhancing brain-derived neurotrophic factor — a hormone that facilitates the formation of brain cells.

Anxiety and depression can take a toll on your brain in a number of ways. You may struggle to speak and find the right words. You might not be able to concentrate, learn new things as easily, or remember information as a result of depression and anxiety.

Fortunately, turmeric also plays a role in warding off both depression and anxiety. As a result, you may notice an improvement in your mood as well as your ability to remember and focus.

3. Green, Leafy Vegetables

Were you encouraged to eat all your spinach or other leafy greens as a kid? If so, your parents did you quite a favor because spinach, kale, broccoli, and other similar vegetables are rich in the following nutrients:

  • Folate
  • Beta carotene
  • Vitamin K
  • Lutein
Green Leafy Vegetables

Green Leafy Vegetables

Specifically, these veggies are known to boost cognitive function by improving your memory, mental response time, and decision-making abilities. They’re even known to help with mood. And this can impact your ability to think and concentrate. In the long run, the nutrients in these foods may also slow cognitive decline.

4. Nuts

Nuts are loaded with protein, vitamins, healthy fats, and vitamins.

For instance, walnuts are a primary example of a nut that helps with brain health. These nuts have a great deal of omega-3 fatty acids and can assist with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline that comes with age.

With their high concentration of vitamin E, hazelnuts and almonds are beneficial to both memory and speech. They also help slow mental decline due to age.

5. Berries

Berries are known for their antioxidant properties that help ward off heart disease and certain types of cancer. However, berries also have brain-boosting properties.

Berries

Berries

The antioxidants in them prevent oxidative stress on the brain cells to reduce the prevalence of neuron inflammation and death. Flavonoids make berries a double threat; for one, berries have the antioxidant vitamin C. But they also have flavonoids, which are also antioxidants.

The flavonoids in berries are known to have anticancer, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory effects as well. They’re also known to enhance your memory, though.

In fact, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a medical establishment associated with Harvard, conducted a study on women who consumed two or more servings of blueberries and strawberries each week. At the end of the study, researchers found these women slowed memory deterioration by a maximum of two and a half years from regular berry consumption.

And just so you know, you don’t have to chomp down on fresh berries every time. Instead, you could cook or bake with them or make a fresh fruit smoothie with them.

Other Tips for Enhancing Brain Power

While many consumers are looking for solutions to never-ending time parading in the kitchen, we suggest cancelling your meal subscription service, and focusing on quick-easy, but nutritious meals to help give your brain the energy it needs throughout the day.

While you consume foods to help with anxiety and depression, you could also start exercising more. If you’re 18 or older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you receive at least 150 minutes of physical exercise each week. That’s as simple as exercising five days each week for 30 minutes per session. You could also break that up into about 20 minutes daily for every day of the week.

Another helpful tip is to get a medical card to help you combat anxiety or depression. Ultimately, this may help you focus better by providing you access to medical cannabis and other treatments.

Overall, incorporating better habits into your life, especially with your diet, can help you lead a better life with more mental clarity and better focus. You may even be able to ward off cognitive decline in the future!

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