You’ve probably heard that certain foods can help your memory improve, and will allow you to think with better clarity.
“But what foods are actually considered brain foods?” you may ask.
Believe it or not, there are a copious amount of foods that protect your brain, improving how good it’ll work, and can even generate new brain cells.
Yes, you read it right… new brain cells! You can still generate new brain cells–even when you’re an adult. A common myth recently espoused that brain cells quit occurring once you’ve reached adulthood, but reputable and prolific new research has debunked this myth. Regardless of how old you are, you can make new brain cells.
Keep in mind that all cells need nutrients to continue their growth. This means your brain needs foods that will give it the building blocks it needs to work right. When you have more neurons and connections within your brain, it means you have a stronger memory and your mind can work better.
Keep your life’s memories alive longer, and sharper than ever, with these six foods that will help keep your brain whole and healthy:
1 – Build Your Brain: Healthy Fats
The majority of the cell structure in the brain consists of healthy fats, including the most important healthy fats, called Omega-3 fatty acids. As the brain continues to fix itself and grow additional neurons, it needs a good amount of Omega-3s to be consumed.
The best food sources to get your Omega-3 from, in order of importance, are:
- Albacore tuna
- Flaxseed oil
- Canola oil
2 – Protect Your Brain: Antioxidants
As people get older, substances called free radicals, which are floating through the bloodstream, will break down the brain cells. If you don’t put up a fight, you’ll experience loss of memory as you age. However, there are a good deal of antioxidant food sources to choose from. Antioxidants will merge with these free radicals, turning them harmless. Make sure you eat foods that have this healthy food source. Several good sources of antioxidants include:
- Blueberries (other berries too)
- Red grapes
- Whole grains
3 – Spark Your Brain: High Tyrosine Proteins
Your brain doesn’t just have neurons, but also neurotransmitters, which are messengers that bring brain signals from one neuron to the next one. Your brain structure might be good, but if your neurotransmitters are insufficient, your brain won’t work right. Some parts of the neurotransmitters, like the tryptophan, are not able to be made by your body. Thus, you must consume food to get them. However, the body can make tyrosine, but you still need to get the proper foods into your diet.
The greatest sources of food to boost your alertness, concentration, and energy are:
- Dairy products
Don’t sabotage yourself, though. Rather, choose the varieties that are low in salt and unhealthy fats.
4 – Hydrate Your Brain: Water
You already know that your body is made mostly of water. And you also know how easy it is to not consume much water and become dehydrated. Even a mild case of dehydration can reduce your mental energy and capacity, causing your memory to become impaired. You should drink at least four liters of water each day, or six to eight 8-ounce glasses.
5 – Brain Building Blocks: Vitamins & Minerals
There are certain kinds of vitamins and minerals that are necessary building blocks for your brain. Of course, you don’t want to become vitamin deficient. So the vitamins and minerals very important to brain functions include:
- Vit. B6
- Vit. B12
- Vit. C
Deficiencies of the above have been shown to cause learning impairment.
But remember, there are many other nutrients you need, especially micronutrients, that are best found in food. The easiest way to get all your vitamins and minerals every day is to take a multivitamin. Yet it’s hard to find any one multi-vitamin that contains all your micronutrients, so don’t rely on multi-vitamins alone. And never take your vitamins on an empty stomach. No only does doing so often cause you to have an upset stomach, but taking them with food helps the digestive system better assimilate the, so your body (and brain) can better use them.
6 – Regulate Your Fuel Supply: Fiber
Most people don’t realize that fiber is important to the brain, but it’s extremely important. It can help with your brain functions because it can slow down sugar absorption. Your brain works on 100 percent sugar; however, it needs to be delivered steadily and in the proper amounts so as not to overload your brain.
True, fiber in itself might not be considered ‘food,’ but you often get it through foods. Consuming a fiber-rich diet will slow down digestion and gradually release the sugar into your bloodstream.
Foods that contain a good dose of fiber include:
- Dried fruits – apricots, dates, prunes, raisins
- Vegetables – broccoli, green peas, spinach
- Peas and beans – black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lima beans
- Nuts and seeds – almonds and flaxseed
- Whole fruit – avocadoes, kiwi, oranges, pears and skin-on apples
- Whole wheat grains – barley, brown rice, etc.
That’s it! If you’re looking to improve your memory, consuming the foods above will help you. And remember, steer clear of a high-sugar, high fat diet to help keep your brain as healthy possible as you age.
Sera Filson is a health enthusiast and professional student (currently pursing a B.A. in Business Management) who enjoys reading about body contouring and being a fan of Sono Bello on LinkedIn and Sono Bello on Indeed.com.