10 Brain-Boosting Foods That Just Might Make You Smarter
10 Brain-Boosting Foods That Just Might Make You Smarter by: Tricia Drevets for Off the Grid News
We have all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat,” but did you know you that what you eat can make you smarter?
In addition to helping your body stay healthy and strong, certain foods can help your brain work better and even protect against mental disorders.
“Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain,” said Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science who has researched the effects of food on the brain. “Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging.”
Ultimately, the foods we eat can affect everything from our mood to our memory. Nutrient-dense whole foods can do more than just fuel our bodies; they can help us think more clearly.
According to Cynthia Green, Ph.D., an expert on memory and brain health, key nutrients — along with exercise and daily brain stimulation – help keep brain cells healthy and prevent inflammation. Green writes that a person’s memory, attention span and ability to learn all benefit from the right food choices.
Here are 10 brain-boosting foods to make a part of your diet.
Salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, trout, and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which experts believe are essential for healthy brain function.
Nearly 40 percent of the fatty acids found in brain cell membranes are of the DHA variety, which are found in fish oil. Scientists have also discovered that DHA helps the brain transmit signals between its cells. The body cannot manufacture fatty acids, so they must be gained through diet.
Tufts University researchers found that people who ate oily fish three times a week and therefore had the highest levels of DHA in their blood reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by almost 40 percent.
2. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark green vegetables, such as kale, collard greens and spinach, are excellent sources of vitamin E and folate. Folate may protect the brain by lowering levels of an amino acid known as homocysteine in the blood. Nitrates in spinach help increase blood flow to the brain and thereby improve mental performance.
Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function and improves memory. Leafy greens also contain carotenoids, which help protect the brain from damage from free radicals, the waste products the body makes when its cells create energy.