Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.
If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.
When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.
In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:
Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?
It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.
Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.
Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.
Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.
Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.
Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.
Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.
Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.
Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance. Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.
Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.
Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.
Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.
Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.
Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.
Curcumin has also been shown to:
- Increase blood flow to the brain.
- Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.
- Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.
- Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.
Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.
Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.
Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]
Coffee can also:
- Improve alertness and concentration.
- Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
- Reduce your risk of depression.
- Improve your memory.
- Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.
What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?
Most likely, broccoli was your answer.
Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.
Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.
Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells. Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.
6. Bone broth
Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.
Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.
Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.
Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.
Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.
With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.
Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.
Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.
Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.
Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.
Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.
For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.
Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.
Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.
9. Dark chocolate
You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.
Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.
Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.
Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.
Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.
Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.
In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.
If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.
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Featured photo credit: Charisse Kenion via unsplash.com