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Published on May 26, 2021

16 Brain-Damaging Habits To Stop Doing Now

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16 Brain-Damaging Habits To Stop Doing Now

Have you ever felt like your mental health is getting worse by the day? Like you are slowly going backward mentally instead of improving? Well, it may have something to do with your habits that can be brain-damaging and harmful to your mental health.

See, some habits may seem to fit our lifestyles and desires but affect various aspects of our mental health without us knowing. Maybe you are used to drinking eight cups of coffee every day as you work on demanding projects so that you can hit your deadline. It helps to do that since it will keep you alert and productive, but this destroys your brain slowly.

To learn how excessive caffeine works against you, along with other habits that you have made as your second nature that are slowly and quietly killing your brain, read on.

You will learn what not to do so that you improve and maintain optimum mental health for years to come. Here are 16 brain-damaging habits to stop doing now.

1. Allowing Yourself to Be Overwhelmed by Stress and Anxiety Frequently

If your life is filled with stress-inducing events that constantly weigh you down, this might affect your mental health in the long run and damage your brain. Studies show that stress may cause long-term changes in your brain that make you vulnerable to various mental illnesses by influencing a process known as oligodendrogenesis.[1] This process involves the formation of oligodendrocytes, the myelinating cells of the nervous system.

Myelination, which happens to the cells of the central nervous system, is when there is an increase in the fatty myelin sheath that surrounds the neuronal fibers and processes that make electrical transmission in the brain much smoother. When stress accumulates in your life, it affects the extent or rate of myelination, which then brings about exposure to mental health conditions.

To avoid getting stressed all the time, you should consider reducing the factors that increase your chances of having stress. A problem-solving plan or strategy that helps you solve the problems you face regularly can also go a long way for you. Moreover, working with a stress-relieving technique such as meditation can also help reduce the high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

2. Failing to Take on New Challenging Activities

If you are used to doing the same tasks every day for a long period, chances are that you are slowly destroying your brain. Now, this doesn’t mean that if you are a doctor or a lawyer and you are doing the same tasks almost every day, you are hurting your brain. No, having a career or becoming an expert at something by regularly doing it is okay, and it has positive benefits. However, if you don’t go out of your way to do something new and stretch your brain a little, then you are bringing problems to your life.

Research shows that doing new things creates new patterns for your neural activity, making your brain sharp and maintaining optimal mental health.[2]

Learning a new skill has been found to create these patterns so learning fine arts, driving a motorbike (if you only know how to drive a car and vice versa), learning a new language, or learning any other skills, craft, or activities that you have never done before really adds value not only financially but also mentally.

Even in your place of work, you can increase your knowledge and skill-set in different aspects of your career by advancing your studies as this also helps. You don’t necessarily have to pick up an entirely new hobby or skills that are unrelated to your line of work or interests.

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3. Avoiding the Gym Room

We can all admit that we are not always pumped up to go to the gym or follow the fitness routines that we have set for ourselves. Sometimes, a day comes when we are not feeling it. And then a day becomes two, and then three, and before long, it has been months or years since we worked out.

Being inactive for long causes functional and structural changes in the brain, which increases the chance of getting cardiovascular problems.[3] Sitting for hours without following it with some serious exercise can have a significant effect on your health and be brain-damaging. That is why you are always advised to spare a few minutes out of your day to do some form of physical exercise that will get your blood running.

Becoming active fitness-wise means doing it every so often, not every day. If your work schedule doesn’t allow you to work out each day, you can do it on those days when you have little to no work, at least three to four times a day.

Remember that your body is the only body you have throughout the years you are going to be here on earth (and maybe mars, too, if Elon Musk makes it habitable before we die). You don’t get another body at some other point in the future, so you have to ensure you take care of it by frequent exercising, whether it’s aerobic exercise, strength training, or balance exercises, or any other type you find fit for you.

4. Making Binge Eating Your Second Nature

Overeating is considered to be a bad eating pattern that causes brain-damaging health problems in the long run. It affects you physically and also puts you at risk of getting serious health conditions, such as obesity, heart problems, high blood pressure, and diabetes, and these conditions are associated with brain conditions like Alzheimer’s and others.

According to a study presented in the annual meeting held by the American Academy of Neurology, having too much food has also shown the increased possibility of mild cognitive impairment or memory loss after a few years.[4] This applies to binging on both healthy and unhealthy foods for a prolonged period.

To solve this, you first need to be aware of the dangers you are exposing yourself to by overeating. Would you like to have to suffer for a lifetime for eating the large pizza every day for a month or more? Is it really worth it?

Awareness of this when you get tempted to eat or when your cravings are high, coupled with a strong will to change your life for your peace and health’s sake, can help you make a positive change in your life.

5. Obsessing Over Sugary Foods

Taking foods that have no nutritional value work against your body and brain. Your brain requires nutrients to perform well and if you fall into the habit of having high sugar foods, you are denying your brain the opportunity to function well and develop well and thus, cause a condition called malnutrition.

On top of that, the brains of people who are used to taking junk food have been found to have regions that are associated with memory and learning to be relatively smaller than those of people who eat healthy foods.[5]

You should make an effort of eating healthy foods often and in favorable amounts to make sure that your body is making the most of them and improving your health.

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6. Not Getting Enough Restful Sleep

We all require refreshing sleep after a long day at work, but we don’t always get to have that. Maybe you have some tasks you need to complete or an assignment that you need to submit before the deadline, so you steal some of your sleep time to work on that.

Making this a habit and depriving yourself of sleep makes it hard for your brain to function properly. Other aspects such as alertness, memory, the ability to learn verbally, and the emotional state of your brain are also affected.[6][7][8]

Very few hours of sleep also reduce your rate of productivity and your ability to decode people’s emotions. Managing your time well during the day, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, keeping away electronics, and avoiding stress are better ways to ensure you get the amount of sleep that your brain requires to perform at its best.

7. Juggling Many Tasks at Once

The main reason why we multitask is to achieve more in less time. However, doing this is more counterproductive than you might think.

Firstly, you think you are doing more in a short period when in fact, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Our brains are not designed to multitask. We are meant to handle one task at a time, and when we multitask, our attention is divided and we end up doing low-quality work. You give your brain very little time to process and prepare how you should approach each work the right way to get the desired results and thus, strain it.

Also, research shows that multitasking increases the levels of the stress hormone, which can be brain-damaging.[9] In the long term, your actions affect the overall performance of your brain.

8. Constant Information Overload

We live in a world where we constantly seek new information or receive information that is meant to improve our lives in different areas. However, if we frequently put ourselves in a state where we are receiving more information than we can handle, this takes a toll on our brains.

If on a typical day, you are taking in a lot of new information and trying to process and work with it, you put a lot of pressure on your brain’s ability to decode and apply the information in the needed areas, and this makes you ineffective. You also affect your memory and decision-making abilities.

Whether it is a new training at work, or trying to keep up with new technology, or even doing your studies, you should try to do it in moderation so that you benefit from it and you keep your brain operating well. Also, creating a plan of how you are going to take in the information in small bits, process it, and then give your brain some rest and then get back to it based on your schedule will save you big time.

9. Loving the Couch Too Much

The brain is structured in a way that only gets better when it’s put into work. Think of it like a muscle. You are supposed to do training now so that you can be strong. In this same way, you should train your mind by involving it in a series of tasks during the day, some of which are fairly challenging so that you get it to go the extra mile, which results in better performance and improved mental abilities.

For example, when you are working, if you are used to concentrating for 30 minutes to one hour and then you take a break, you can try doing one hour to one hour and 15 minutes three times a week. Then, when it becomes fairly easy for you to do it, you make it a daily thing.

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If you stay idle for a long period, you will be subjecting your mind to mental decline, which will, later on, impact your life and make it difficult for you to be efficient like other people. However, if you push your mind just a little once in a while, you will get better and utilize your full potential.

10. Limited Socializing

Well, this one is going to disappoint most introverts, although not much. Staying alone for a long period might be working against you more than you think it does for you.

See, human beings grow and get better with more interactions. The very act of interacting with a person involves the brain and boosts its function at the same time. When you are speaking to someone, you have to think, reason, and process what you are told so that you can give good responses. You have to retrieve some information from your memory and use it in your discussions, and you also have to store new information that you get from the person you are speaking to for future benefits.

When you fail to meet new people or talk to the close people you already have, you are losing out, and this can be brain-damaging. Research has shown that creating and actively maintaining social networks helps to keep mental decline at bay and enables you to be more mentally sharp.[10][11]

Even if you are an introvert and find more power in being alone, try to strike a balance between your alone time and time to get to know people. You will be amazed at what you’ve been missing out on.

11. Blasting Your Headphones

Neuroscientists from the University of Dallas found that being exposed to loud noises might affect your brain’s ability to process sound and also makes it more likely for your brain to struggle even more to understand speech sounds.[12] It may also bring about impaired memory and alterations in moods and behavior.[13][14] And this is one of the reasons that cause memory-related conditions in older adults later in life. In other words, frequent exposure to loud noises can be brain-damaging.

Since the brain is being overtasked, it becomes hard for it to keep up with the daily demands and still operate at its best for years to come. While having loud music seems appealing, you should try to reduce the number of times you listen to loud music or being in a place with a loud noise to protect the key areas of your brain.

You can work with the ratio of 3:1, that is, for every three times you listen to low music, you listen to loud music once. Alternatively, you can give it up entirely and focus only on moderate volume.

12. Heavy Smoking

When a pregnant woman smokes, she prevents the brain development of the baby she’s carrying, something that later on affects the baby.[15] Smoking also makes your brain shrink, promotes an imbalance of hormones that are brain-controlled, and makes you twice as likely to suffer from dementia as the average person.[16][17]

Heavy smoking also weighs your memory down.[18] If you are a big-time smoker, you should consider getting therapy to help you overcome the destructive habit or use other self-improvement methods such as awareness meditation, subliminal messages, and others that you feel may work well with you.

13. Having a Thing for Darkness

Staying indoors in dimly lit rooms the whole day for weeks can make you feel depressed and also increases your chances of getting cognitive impairment.[19]

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Sunlight offers vitamin D that is responsible for regulating the cerebrospinal fluid and enzymes in the brain, which are associated with nerve growth and synthesis of neurotransmitters that help with sending electrical signals in the brain.[20] It also promotes a healthy circadian rhythm that also sharpens the brain.

Sparing a couple of minutes to bask in the morning and afternoon sun carries a lot of nutritional value for your physical and mental health.

14. Covering Your Head When Sleeping

When you cover your head when you’re sleeping, you increase the intake of carbon dioxide and reduce oxygen levels in your brain. And since your brain requires oxygen to function properly, you end up hurting yourself.

Also, this is among the actions that may contribute to sudden infant deaths.[21] That is why you are always advised to keep your head as well as your baby’s uncovered when sleeping.

15. The Smart Device Addiction

Using mobile devices in this technological era is inevitable. But when you do it too much, especially at night, you risk your ability to fall asleep easily, which brings the brain-damaging effects of lack of sleep.

On top of that, it limits your level of creativity and makes you dependent, which is not a good thing for someone who is required to be active and productive during the day and sleep peacefully at night.[22] Smart device addiction is also associated with increased mental health conditions, low self-esteem, limited learning abilities, and high chances of cognitive decline. [23]

While you have to use mobile devices, it is good practice to make sure that you are controlling the amount of time you are spending on it and keep it to the minimum.

16. Strong Relationship With Caffeine

Caffeine is good for remaining alert and busy, but when you have more than 400 milligrams, which is estimated to be around 4 cups, then you put yourself in a position where you are most likely to fight with headaches, drowsiness, and migraines. In some cases, it might cause hallucinations and more confusion in your life.

Having caffeine, just like all the other habits mentioned here, is a simple and ordinary thing that we do and appear okay but may have a huge impact on our brains over a period if not controlled. Too much caffeine can be brain-damaging, but you can easily avoid this.

Conclusion

In summary, embracing habits that seem comfortable and more fitting for us in various situations may seem to improve our lives but in fact, they may do quite the contrary. They may be brain-damaging or even harmful to our physical health.

Instead, you should aim at engaging in various mental and physical exercises like meditation, going to the gym often, getting involved in challenging brain games, learning new languages, using your other hand instead of the dominant one, being careful how you sleep and how you handle stressful events in your life, and remain active for the better part of the day. And also, don’t forget to make new friends often.

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These habits will not only get you out of your comfort zone but also challenge your mind in a way that will improve it.

More Tips on Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Nubelson Fernandes via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Nature: Stress and glucocorticoids promote oligodendrogenesis in the adult hippocampus
[2] Science Daily: How the brain changes when mastering a new skill
[3] PubMed.gov: Physical (in)activity-dependent structural plasticity in bulbospinal catecholaminergic neurons of rat rostral ventrolateral medulla
[4] Harvard Medical School: Overeating may reduce brain function
[5] Medical Express: Eating junk food found to impair the role of the hippocampus in regulating gorging
[6] Nature: Altered brain response to verbal learning following sleep deprivation
[7] Wiley Online library: Neural basis of alertness and cognitive performance impairments during sleepiness. I. Effects of 24 h of sleep deprivation on waking human regional brain activity
[8] Science Direct: The human emotional brain without sleep — a prefrontal amygdala disconnect
[9] NCBI: Psychobiological responses to critically evaluated multitasking
[10] Plos One: Psychological well-being in elderly adults with extraordinary episodic memory
[11] US National Library of Medicine: The evolution of episodic memory
[12] Science Daily: Effect of loud noises on the brain revealed in study
[13] US National Library of Medicine: The Effect of Noise Exposure on Cognitive Performance and Brain Activity Patterns
[14] US National Library of Medicine: Loud Noise Exposure Produces DNA, Neurotransmitter and Morphological Damage within Specific Brain Areas
[15] Wiley Online library: Effects of maternal smoking in pregnancy on prenatal brain development. The Generation R Study
[16] Science Direct: Nicotine and the central nervous system: Biobehavioral effects of cigarette smoking
[17] Science Direct: Non-treatment-seeking heavy drinkers: Effects of chronic cigarette smoking on brain structure
[18] US National Library of Medicine: Brain Activity in Cigarette Smokers Performing a Working Memory Task: Effect of Smoking Abstinence
[19] US National Library of Medicine: The Relationship Between Long-Term Sunlight Radiation and Cognitive Decline in the REGARDS Cohort Study
[20] Scientific American: Does Vitamin D Improve Brain Function?
[21] PubMed.gov: Consequences of getting the head covered during sleep in infancy
[22] Harvard Medical School: Screen Time and the Brain
[23] Springer Link: Effects of Excessive Screen Time on Neurodevelopment, Learning, Memory, Mental Health, and Neurodegeneration: a Scoping Review

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David Oscar

Mental Health Researcher

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Published on August 9, 2021

12 Best Brain Foods To Help You Focus Like A Laser

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12 Best Brain Foods To Help You Focus Like A Laser

Do you ever feel like your brain can function better than it is currently? Have you ever had moments of laser sharp focus and wished they stayed with you forever?

We have all had those moments where we found ourselves being super productive and having lengthened periods of concentration and focused attention, and if there was a way we could make such kind of mental state a permanent state for us, we would definitely go for it.

And while we cannot make the state come back and stick with us forever in just an instant, there is a way we can slowly cultivate it in our lives in the long term.

One of these ways is by being keen on eating brain boosting foods. Some foods enhance the regions of the brain that are linked to concentration, focus, reasoning, thinking abilities, and overall brain health. By eating these foods regularly, you can also improve your brain function and slowly work to a healthy and well performing brain.

Let’s take a closer look at the 12 best brain foods to take to boost your focus and overall mental health.

1. Coffee

Coffee is among the most popular beverages that sharpen your focus and increase productivity. Millions of people across the world rely on it to help them through demanding tasks at work and assignments at school.

The reason why coffee has proven to be effective over the years is due to the two components in it that largely enhance the brain.

These components are antioxidants and caffeine.

Antioxidants help with protecting the brain from common mental health conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.[1][2]

Caffeine, on the other hand, is responsible for influencing the brain in various positive ways including blocking out a brain chemical called Adenosine that makes you want to sleep and increasing the levels of serotonin neurotransmitters which in turn boosts your mood, increase your level of alertness and concentration.[3][4][5][6]

However, it is important to note that taking coffee with moderation is the way to make the most of it. If you take more than 4 cups a day, you might be setting yourself up for the nasty side effects that come with it which are restlessness and inability to sleep.[7]

Striking a good balance between coffee and other beverages will help you avoid the chances of experiencing the side effects. You can try drinking coffee only on those days you want to tackle tedious tasks, and only when you are working on them to maximize its effects in your life.

2. Fatty Fish

When the words fatty fish are mentioned, you naturally direct your attention to salmon, pollack, cod, sardines, mackerel and tuna.

These contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to help with improving learning abilities and memory, not to mention helping with building nerve and brain cells.[8][9][10][11]

Improved cognitive performance brought about by omega 3 fatty acids can be attributed to the fact that they help increase flow of blood in the brain. [12]

Also, when it comes to general mental health, eating oily or fatty fish helps to delay the mental decline that comes with age, as well as depression and reduce learning problems. [13] [14]

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Omega 3 has also been associated with the lowering of the protein called Beta-amyloid in the brain that is responsible for forming destructive clamps in people who struggle with Alzheimer’s.[15]

You are encouraged to add fatty fish to your eating plan and consider having it often.

Also, if you would like to obtain omega 3 fatty acids without having to feel like you have to eat fish every time, you can use other alternatives such as walnuts, flaxseeds and avocados. They are also good sources of omega 3.

3. Maca

Maca is a plant from Peru that is grown in Central Andes and has been cultivated a little over 2000 years now. Its scientific name is Lepidium meyenii and is used as a foodstuff as well as a medicinal plant.

It is said to bring about many health benefits including boosting learning abilities and memory, improving mood, increasing energy levels and endurance, improving sexual health in men, and regulating blood pressure.[16]

When it comes to the mental health benefits, Peruvian natives in the Central Andes attribute their children’s good academic performance to regular use of maca.[17]

While there are different varieties of maca, studies have found that the black variety is the one that shows strong effects on mental health improvement, and both hydroalcoholic maca extract and boiled aqueous maca extract have the same effect on the brain.[18]

Scientific studies on maca are still in their infancy and the cause of the effects that it has shown are not yet fully established. However, it is suggested that Macamides, which are maca compounds, might be behind its potency.[19]

You can add maca to your smoothies, energy bars, oatmeal, and any baked foods to enjoy its benefits.

4. Green Tea

Green tea is another known stimulant that helps you remain alert. It contains two compounds that go a long way in influencing the brain.[20]

First, it contains caffeine which accounts for the alertness.

Although coffee contains a much higher quantity of caffeine than green tea, the latter is found suitable to use for those who prefer a well toned effect of caffeine.

Caffeine helps with regulating neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine and adenosine, as earlier mentioned, that helps with keeping you awake and in good balance in terms of moods and brain function.[21][22]

Second, it contains. L-theanine.

L-theanine is an amino acid that can cross the blood-brain barrier and into the brain which then promotes increase in GABA (Gamma aminobutyric acid) which promotes relaxation.[23][24][25]

It also increases the alpha waves in the brain which are responsible for the calm, conscious and relaxed mental state.

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When L-theanine and caffeine are combined, they both have a much powerful effect, and this explains why taking green tea for many people has been found more rewarding than coffee.

L-theanine has also been linked to other mental health benefits such as improving memory and protection from mental illnesses like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.[26][27]

Taking green tea in the morning and just before going for a physical exercise helps.

5. Green Leafy Vegetables

Greens are packed with nutrients that enhance the brain in great ways. Broccoli, Swiss chards, kales, dandelion greens, collards and spinach are among the vegetables that have high nutritional value that make them useful for brain health.

Broccoli, for instance, has antioxidants and Vitamin K, among other plant compounds that contribute to better memory, anti-inflammatory effects and brain protection benefits.[28][29][30]

Kale is heavily packed with nutrients like Vitamin A, B6, C, K, potassium, manganese, copper and calcium that promote brain development, slowing cognitive decline caused by age, depression and even various health conditions like Alzheimer’s.[31][32][33][34]

Generally, leafy vegetables contain a variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that elevate various regions of the brain that are associated with memory, alertness, processing of information and overall brain health.

Working with delicious green smoothies and recipes that use a lot of greens will largely contribute to a better functioning brain.

6. Dark Chocolate

Other than the sweet taste, dark chocolate also boosts your brain.

It contains three compounds that make this possible, which are, caffeine, antioxidants and flavonoids.

Since we have already seen that caffeine offers the stimulating effects that keep you alert and antioxidants help with keeping mental illnesses and cognitive decline at bay, let’s take a closer look at flavonoids.

Flavonoids are micronutrients that reduce neuroinflammation, protect neurons from neurotoxin-based injury and are potentially effective in enhancing learning, cognitive performance and memory.[35][36] [37]

Studies have also revealed that dark chocolate brings about a positive feeling.[38]

Dark chocolate contains cacao, which is often referred to as cocoa. Aiming to eat dark chocolate that carries more than 70% cocoa ensures that you get optimal benefits from it.

7. Nuts

Nuts such as walnuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, to name a few, contain several brain improving nutrients.

They come with the popular antioxidant, Vitamin E, that protects the brain cells and cell membranes from oxidative stress and damage by free radicals.[39][40][41]

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Long term consumption of nuts has contributed to a sharper memory, better academic performance and lower risks of getting mental illnesses too.[42][43]

They have also shown abilities to improve the factors that account for good heart and brain health.

All nuts have their nutritional benefits but you are encouraged to eat walnuts more as they have a much higher value due to the presence of high levels of alpha-linolenic acid, which is a type of omega 3 fatty acid.

8. Avocado

Avocado is surprisingly a berry, and it is referred to as a big berry.

Although it hasn’t been fully studied yet, it is believed to carry vitamins B5, B6, C, E and K. Also, it comes with folate and potassium.

There are also low amounts of other nutrients including copper, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and iron that are present in it.

Moreover, it contains a monounsaturated fatty acid called Oleic acid, which is part of what makes olive oil good to use. This fatty acid is known to have many benefits, some of which are lowering inflammation, and brain development.[44]

Adding it to your recipes or making smoothies, and regularly eating it together with your favorite fruits will help you take advantage of its nutritional value.

9. Eggs

There are 4 micronutrients in eggs that give the brain an extra edge, folate, choline, vitamin B6 and B12.

Folate helps to slow down the mental decline that comes with age.[45]

Choline is used by the body to increases the levels of a neurotransmitter known as Acetylcholine that is associated with memory, mental function and moods.[46][47][48]

The yolk of an egg is where the choline micronutrient is in high quantities, and people who desire to increase their choline levels in the body are encouraged to focus on that part.

Vitamin B6 brings down the high levels of an amino acid called Homocysteine in the blood that causes depression and other psychiatric issues.

It also plays the role of increasing the levels of neurotransmitters like GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid), serotonin and dopamine, which modulate emotions.

Vitamin B12 also helps with reducing the symptoms of depression as well as preventing losing neurons that in turn cause poor memory.[49]

10. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are categorized into lemons (which include meyer lemons and eureka lemons), sweet oranges (which include blood orange, Valencia, cara cara and navel), limes (which include kaffir, Persian and key lime), mandarin (which include tangelo, tangor, satsuma and clementine), grapefruit (which include ruby red, white and oroblanco) and others such as yuzu, sudachi, citron and pomelos.

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They have the B vitamins as well as Vitamin C, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. There are also lots of varieties of carotenoids, essential oils and flavonoids present in citrus fruits.

On top of that, they are also known to possess antioxidating and anti-inflammatory effects.

Vitamin C reduces inflammation, offers protection to neurons from oxidative stress, modulates neurotransmission (communication between neurons), and also influences neuronal development.[50]

Some of the minerals in citrus fruits have been found to reduce symptoms of depression in women.[51]

They have also been associated with influencing communication through the nerves and regulating neurotransmitters.[52]

The flavanoids protect the nervous system from damage through the anti-inflammatory effects they have. And this helps to keep mental health conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s away.[53][54]

11. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice we add to our foods to make it delicious that also does a bit of magic to our brains.

Curcumin is a primary active component in turmeric that easily passes the blood brain barrier.

It brings about anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that drag along the benefits of improved memory, promoting growth of new brain cells and managing moods.[55][56]

Also, it has shown potential to handle Alzheimer’s diseases, although it has not been fully confirmed as reliable treatment.[57][58]

12. Beetroots

Beetroots which are commonly referred to as beets are also great brain enhancers.

They can help prevent mental decline that is associated with poor blood flow to the brain. They have nitrates that encourage blood vessel dilation that then allow more blood and oxygen to flow to the brain, and thus enhance its functions.[59]

More specifically, they improve flow of blood to a part of the brain known as the frontal lobe.

This is a region that is linked to higher cognitive functions including concentration and attention, problem solving, reasoning and judgment, motor function, impulse control, memory, social interaction and emotions.

Conclusion

There you go, the best brain foods that you should make your closest friends.

You should aim to have them often if you would like to see an improvement in your brain function in the coming months. Looking for recipes that use the foods mentioned above as ingredients and adding them to your recipe book is a good place to start.

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Also, mixing them up with the foods you like eating goes a long way in not only making sure that you are minding your brain health but also enjoying what you eat in the process.

Featured photo credit: Maddi Bazzocco via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] PubMed.gov: Effects of coffee/caffeine on brain health and disease: What should I tell my patients?
[2] US National Library of Medicine: Neuroprotective and Anti-inflammatory Properties of a Coffee Component in the MPTP Model of Parkinson’s Disease
[3] PubMed.gov: Effects of caffeine on mood and performance: a study of realistic consumption
[4] PubMed.gov: Caffeine and adenosine
[5] PubMed.gov: The role of adenosine in the regulation of sleep
[6] PubMed.gov: Roles of adenosine and its receptors in sleep-wake regulation
[7] US National Library of Medicine: The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review
[8] National Center For Complimentary And Integrative Health: Omega-3 Supplements: In Depth
[9] PubMed.gov: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and their Role in Central Nervous System – A Review
[10] National Library of Medicine: A meta-analytic review of double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids
[11] PubMed.gov: Novel insights into the effect of vitamin B₁₂ and omega-3 fatty acids on brain function
[12] PubMed.gov: Quantitative Erythrocyte Omega-3 EPA Plus DHA Levels are Related to Higher Regional Cerebral Blood Flow on Brain SPECT
[13] PubMed.gov: Omega-3 fatty acids and dementia
[14] PubMed.gov: Fish consumption and cognitive decline with age in a large community study
[15] Harvard Medical School: Foods linked to better brainpower
[16] US National Library of Medicine: Acceptability, Safety, and Efficacy of Oral Administration of Extracts of Black or Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) in Adult Human Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
[17] PubMed.gov: Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands
[18] PubMed.gov: Effect of three different cultivars of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on learning and depression in ovariectomized mice
[19] US National Library of Medicine: Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands
[20] PubMed.gov: Effect of Green Tea Phytochemicals on Mood and Cognition
[21] Wiley Online Library: Adenosine, Adenosine Receptors and the Actions of Caffeine
[22] PubMed.gov: Caffeine and the central nervous system: mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects
[23] PubMed.gov: The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent
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