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5 Foods You Must Eat for Maximum Brain Power

5 Foods You Must Eat for Maximum Brain Power

Human intelligence is a beautiful thing. It’s the reason we’re all still here today, and why we continue to do so, so successfully.

However, it doesn’t only help us as a whole – but also individually. How smart you are, and how you choose to apply it can change your situation dramatically for the better.

So what’s the secret to being the sharpest tool in the box? How do you get the most out of your brain?

There are so many answers to this question—mainly suggesting that you solve daily brain-teasers, get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly.

But what about the food you eat? Sure, a healthy diet plays a big part in how your brain performs – but are there any foods in particular that you could be added to your plate that could give you that extra edge?

In this article, we look closely at the top 5 foods that you could be eating to improve your brain and it’s performance.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Almonds

    Credit: Flickr.com, HealthAliciousNess

    Almonds are arguably the best type of nut you could be eating for brain power – and this is why you need more of them.

    Reason #1 – It’s a lean protein

    Protein is a part of the core foundation of your diet. It helps to promote energy levels and helps to rebuild muscle mass after a workout.

    But did you know that it can also help rebuild brain cells?

    The protein that almonds provide also helps to improve and repair brain cells,[1] which can help with both your overall cognition, and memory.

    Reason #2 – It’s full of Zinc

    Zinc is a great mineral for your body and your mind. The main reason it’s so good is that it helps to strengthen your immune system.

    By keeping the illnesses at bay, you’ll have less chance of suffering the cloudy mind that comes with a cold or flu.

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    Not only that, it’s a potent antioxidant. This means its good at stopping free radicals in your blood stream.

    These are essentially weak molecular bonds in your body that split. The problem is they’re unbalanced, which can lead to them breaking down brain cells.

    To counter this, zinc can inhibit these free radicals and stop them from doing further damage, allowing you to retain more brain power.

    Reason #3 – It contains both Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E

    You don’t need me to tell you how good vitamins are for your overall health – but how do they help your brain?

    Vitamin B6 has been seen to help promote overall brain health. Whereas Vitamin E has been seen to lessen cognitive decline and the aging of brain cells.

    Reason #4 – Fatty Acids

    Almonds are packed with fatty acids – which is serious fuel for your brain.

    Fatty acids have been seen to not only help with overall brain health, but to also strengthen nerves in the brain.

    It’s a powerful addition.

    2. Dark Chocolate

      Credit: Flickr.com, Urban Wired

      Despite what you may hear about chocolate being bad – dark chocolate has numerous health benefits.

      It’s lower in sugar, higher in cocoa and can help your brain for numerous reasons.

      Reason #1: Tryptophan

      Dark chocolate is rich in Tryptophan, an amino acid that is linked to both releasing serotonin (the ‘feel-good’ hormone) and endorphins in your body.

      This can help to greatly influence your mood and give you that extra motivation and confidence in yourself to complete tasks more thoroughly.

      Reason #2: Flavonoids

      Flavonoids are components found in dark chocolate that help to increase overall blood flow to the brain.

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      With more blood rushing to your brain, the better it can operate. One of the main advantages to better brain circulation is improved short term memory and focus.

      Reason #3: Antioxidants

      Like we’ve already mentioned when we talked about almonds, antioxidants are great for your brainpower.

      By controlling unattached oxygen molecules, known as free radicals, the antioxidants in dark chocolate can help to neutralize them.

      This reduces the damage it can cause to your brain cells.

      Reason #4: Magnesium

      Rich in the mineral magnesium, dark chocolate is great for reducing stress.

      Magnesium has been linked to helping lower cortisol in your body – the stress hormone.

      The more stressed you are, the higher your cortisol levels will be. High cortisol can stop your focus and concentration and make you feel distracted and pressured.

      With less cortisol, you feel calmer and better throughout the day.

      3. Broccoli

        Credit: Flickr.com, Steven Lilley

        Now there’s a new reason you should always eat your greens. Broccoli isn’t just good for overall health, but it’s great for your cognition too.

        Reason #1: Choline

        This is a great nutrient. Choline is a molecule that does wonders for your cognition.

        After being ingested, choline is converted in CDP-choline, a neurotransmitter that promotes both learning and focus.

        It’s a solid choice for brain development, and something you want to be getting a lot of in your diet.

        Reason #2: Anti-inflammatory Properties

        Another benefit of broccoli is its ability to reduce inflammation.

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        Typically when you hear inflammation, it’s easy to think of swollen joints or bloating – but it can also help your brain as well.

        By reducing inflammation, broccoli can help support sensitive areas of your brain and prevent against cognitive decline.

        4. Rhodiola Rosea

          Credit: Flickr.com, Tero Laakso

          Rhodiola Rosea is a Scandinavian herb. There are numerous health websites out there like Muxcle.com that recommend Rhodiola Rosea as a nootropic.

          This isn’t a food you’ll typically find in your diet – but if you want to go the extra mile and supplement it, your brain is going to thank you.

          Reason #1: Mood

          One of the main benefits of Rhodiola Rosea is the effect it can have on your mood.

          Numerous studies have shown that this herb has been seen to raise feelings of ‘well-being’ in subjects while also reducing stress levels and depression.[2]

          This allows you to have a more positive outlook on your day, and get more done.

          Reason #2: Mind

          Another reason why Rhodiola Rosea is so popular is that it can also help reduce fatigue and improve memory.[3]

          This makes your mind a lot sharper and allows you to continue being productive for longer.

          How much Rhodiola Rosea should you use?

          As this isn’t a typical food, it can be hard to know where to start with Rhodiola Rosea – and you don’t need much.

          Some recommend taking 288 – 680mg per day of the herb; this is more than enough to have an effective impact. When it comes to herbs and supplements, you should always consult your physician to determine what dosage you should take (or if you should take it at all).

          5. Blueberries

            Credit: Flickr.com, mellow-stuff mie

            Finally we have blueberries. This fruit isn’t just great as a snack or in a smoothie – it’s also great brain food.

            Here’s how something as delcious and as simple as blueberries can take your cognition to the next level.

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            Reason #1: Antioxidants

            As with almonds and dark chocolate, blueberries are another food that contains antioxidants.

            This can help to control any free radicals in your bloodstream and can help reduce damage to your brain cells.

            Reason #2: Anti-Inflammatory Properties

            Like broccoli, blueberries are a great anti-inflammatory. Much like broccoli, this can help with inflammation in certain areas of your brain.

            This can help with memory formation and in making your brain more effective as a whole.

            Reason #3: Anthocyanin

            Blueberries also contain Anthocyanin. This is great for long-term cognitive benefits.

            Anthocyanin has been seen in several studies to help as a natural aid for reducing the chances of Alzheimers in later life.[4]

            It’s a good nutrient to have on board.

            5 Foods You Must Eat for Maximum Brain Power Review Conclusion

            As you can see, if you’re looking to sharpen your mind, there are several foods you can start eating today to further your mental agility.

            One of the main things you need to remember is that antioxidants are your friend.

            Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables that are packed with these nutrients and let your brain do the rest.

            As a safety reminder, please consult your physician before taking any herbs or supplements.

            Featured photo credit: Flickr.com via flickr.com

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            Last Updated on January 13, 2020

            7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power

            7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power

            Throughout the ages, there have been many beliefs in various tricks to boosting brain power, yet when held up to scientific scrutiny, most of these beliefs don’t add up.

            When I was a child, for example, my mother told me if I ate fish it would make me more intelligent. Of course, there’s no scientific proof this is true.

            Today, there is a myriad of games you can download to your phone that claims to improve your brain’s cognitive skills. While we are still waiting for a conclusive scientific verdict on these, recent studies by neuroscientists at Western University in Ontario[1] and researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia appear to contradict these claims.[2]

            So, how can we really boost our brain power? Well, it turns out there are a number of simple things you can do that will improve the function of your brain. Here are seven to get you started.

            1. Do Your Most Difficult Tasks in the Morning

            Our brains work at their best when they are fresh and energized after a good night’s sleep.

            If you have a task to do that requires a lot of thought and focus, the best time to do that task would be first thing in the morning when your brain is at its freshest.

            This is one of the reasons why checking email first thing the morning is not a good idea. You are wasting your brain’s best hours on a simple task that can be done when your brain is not at its freshest

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            Throughout the day, you will find the amount of time you can focus for will fall. Your decision-making abilities will also begin to weaken as the day progresses. This is called “decision fatigue” and that means the decisions you make later in the day will not be as good as the decisions you make earlier in the day.

            It’s far better to do your most difficult, creative tasks early taking advantage of your brain’s higher energy levels.

            Try to avoid meetings first thing in the morning and schedule work that needs higher creative energy and concentration.

            2. Get Enough Breaks

            Our brains are not very good at maintaining concentration and focus for much more than an hour. Once you go beyond a certain amount of time, doing focused work, you will find yourself making more and more mistakes. This is a sign your brain is tired and needs a break.

            Taking the right kind of break is important. Switching from working on a complex spreadsheet to checking your social media feeds is not going to give your brain the right kind of break. Instead, get up from your desk and head outside. If that is not possible, go to the nearest window and look outside.

            Your brain needs a break from the screen, not just the spreadsheet, so leave your phone behind so you are not tempted to look at it and just savour the view.

            3. Read Books, not Social Media Feeds

            There are no shortcuts to improved knowledge and you are certainly not going to improve your general knowledge about anything useful by reading social media feeds. Instead, make reading books a regular habit.

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            When you read good quality books, you increase your ability to use the knowledge you learn to solve problems as your brain will apply the knowledge you learned to existing situations.

            Learn about economic theory, history and psychology. All these topics have real practical applications for us all today.

            4. Exercise Regularly

            Humans did not evolve to be stationary animals. You need to move.

            Had our ancestors spent their days sat around, they would not have survived very long. To survive and find food, our ancestors had to keep moving. Our brains have evolved to function at their best when we are exercised.

            In his book, Brain Rules, Prof.John Medina explains when we exercise, we increase the amount of oxygen in our brains and this helps to sharpen our brain’s functions.

            In studies, when a previously sedentary group of people began a light exercise programme, their cognitive skills improve as well as reaction times and quantitive skills.

            This is why you are more likely to find the solution to a problem when you are walking somewhere or exercising rather than when you are sat at a desk in front of a screen.

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            5. Get Enough of the Right Food

            You probably have experienced the afternoon slump at some point in your life. This is when you feel tired and fatigued in the mid-afternoon. This is a result of the carbohydrates you ate at lunchtime, stimulating your body to produce insulin which then causes a drop in your blood sugar levels.

            When you go into an afternoon slump, concentrating for long periods become almost impossible and you just want to curl up and go to sleep.

            To prevent the afternoon slump, try to eat a protein-rich lunch such as a tuna or chicken salad without pasta, rice or bread. Keep some healthy snacks such as mixed nuts and dried bananas around your workspace and when you feel a little peckish, eat a few of these.

            Not only will you avoid the afternoon slump, but you will also improve your overall general health and feel a lot more energetic.

            6. Drink Enough Water

            Your brain is made up of about 70% water, so without enough water, your brain will not function at its best.

            When you are not drinking enough water, you will find your ability to concentrate, make decisions and stay alert will reduce. You will feel sleepy and lack energy. Your brain functions at its best when it is properly hydrated.

            The solution is to keep a large bottle of water at your work station and sip regularly from it throughout the day. This will increase the number of trips you need to make to the bathroom which is a good thing. It will keep you moving and taking regular breaks from your screen.

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            7. Don’t Deprive Yourself of Sleep

            You probably don’t need a long scientific study to convince you that if you are not getting enough sleep, you are not going to function at your best.

            You just need to go a couple of days without getting enough sleep and you feel your abilities reduce. Your decision-making skills become erratic, your energy levels drop and your ability to stay focused on your work diminishes.

            If you want to improve your brain’s ability to function, then start with getting enough sleep. The number of hours you need will depend on your own circadian rhythms, so find what works best for you.

            Six to eight hours is usually enough for most people so make sure you are hitting that number of hours per night as a minimum.

            The Bottom Line

            Improving our brain power is not difficult. All we need to do is develop a few simple habits such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and eating the right foods.

            These seven tips will go a long way to helping you to become more alert, able to focus longer and make decisions. All simple common sense tricks anyone can use.

            More to Boost Your Brain Power

            Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

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