The brain is the most vital organ in the human body. As the control center of our body, it’s in charge of keeping the rest of our organs in working order as well as facilitate emotions, memory, language, physical activity, creativity and many more. We rely on our brains to navigate through life. The brain is literally what makes a person a person. So it’s no wonder why keeping the brain healthy and in top condition is so important.
As we age, our cognitive abilities become duller, we become less focused and our brain capacities decrease. In our old age, we will have duller senes and even memory loss. This is only natural. However, we can combat this by maintaining the health of our brains and even increase our brain capacity. This all can be done through a good amount of exercise, sleep, and diet. Staying active will keep our brains and body stimulated, rest will keep it refreshed, and proper nutrition through the foods we eat will keep our minds sharp and even protect us against age-related disorders such as Alzheimers and dementia.
A healthy lifestyle with proper exercise and a balanced diet is essential to maintain a healthy brain. There is no one magic ingredient that can help us develop a healthier brain with improved brain capacity but rather we must adhere to a balanced diet to help us achieve a healthier brain. Fortunately, there are certain foods that we can add to our diets that we can eat to not only maintain the health of our brains but also increase our brain capacity to help fight against brain deterioration as we grow older.
Here are 11 foods to eat to increase brain capacity:
1. Whole Grains
Whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and pasta are good foods to eat to help increase focus and concentration as well as keeping the brain alert. Whole-grain foods are low in GI or glycemic acid and provide energy in the form of glucose in the bloodstream and to the brain. Additionally, whole grains prevent heart disease and promote good blood flow throughout the organs including the brain.
2. Fatty Fish
One of the best foods to eat for the brain is fish rich in omega-3 fatty acid. Because the brain is made up of 60% fat, it needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA that can be found in fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, etc. Our brains cannot produce its own fatty acid so it is reliant on our diet to provide these essential acids. Omega-3 fatty acid promotes faster learning and improved memory, helps the brain keep brain cells healthy and even promotes the creation of new brain cells, build membranes that prevent Alzheimer’s, and it also prevents learning impairments and depression.
See: Fish Recipes
Berries such as blueberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, etc. are good food for the brain because they contain flavonoid antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain. This helps prevent degenerative brain disorders and brain aging. These antioxidants also bring other health benefits to the brain such as making communication between the brain cells faster and improving memory and learning through increased elasticity of the brain cells that help them form new connections with other brain cells.
4. Leafy Greens
It’s no secret that leafy green vegetables have tons of health benefits and it provides great health benefits to the brain as well. Greens such as broccoli and kale are considered superfoods because both are extra rich with antioxidants that help fight off free radicals. The brain can be particularly vulnerable to these free radicals because it requires a huge amount of energy. Additionally, greens such as broccoli are rich in Vitamin K that helps enhance cognitive functions and slow down brain aging. Other leafy greens that are good for the brain are brussels sprouts, turnip, cauliflower, bok choy, and cabbage.
See: Salad Recipes
5. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as being a rich source of Vitamin E. Vitamin E are highly beneficial to the brain because it helps improve mental cognition, maintain brain health in old age, reduce risks of Alzheimer’s disease, and protects the brain from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Walnuts, in particular, is a recommended nut to eat for improved memory and pumpkin seeds are recommended because it contains large amounts of antioxidants that fight of free radicals as well as being an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron that proved to be highly beneficial to brain memory and improve communication between brain cells. Other recommended nuts and seeds to eat are almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds.
6. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of pure cocoa or cacao than other variants of chocolate. Cacao is an excellent source of oxidants called flavonoids just like berries. The flavonoids oxidants help in fighting off free radicals that could cause oxidative stress and prevent the brain from developing degenerative brain disorders. Dark chocolate also helps in the enhancement of memory and performance of mental tasks. It is also a proven mood booster that can help increase endorphins in the brain and fight off depression. Lastly, the cacao in dark chocolate can help with the improvement of brain plasticity which is linked to improved learning capacity.
7. Coffee and Tea
Both coffee and tea provide positive effects on the brain. Both coffee and tea increase brain performance, concentration, alertness, and if drank in the long-term, help prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s due to their high amounts of antioxidants. There are also unique properties found in both coffee and tea that benefits brain health. Coffee is proved to increase brain entropy that allows the brain to be able to process more information while tea, in particular, green and black tea, provides the brain with the amino acid L-theanine that increases the production of the neurotransmitter GABA which helps reduce anxiety in the brain. This makes the body relax without feeling tired.
Turmeric is a spice that is said to provide multiple health benefits to the body and the brain. This is due to an active ingredient in turmeric called the curcumin that can be very healthy for the brain. This active ingredient is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help prevent free radicals from attacking the brain and prevent the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, turmeric can prevent cognitive decline, helps grow new brain cells, helps improve memory, and even eases off depression.
Eggs are full of nutrients that help boost brain power. These nutrients include two types of B vitamins, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 which are both linked to the development of depression when these two b vitamins are deficient in the body. More importantly, eggs provide the brain with choline that helps in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which regulates moods and memory. Eggs are also linked to increased cognitive functioning and the delay of cognitive decline.
Avocados are packed full of healthy unsaturated fat which can support brain health through the reduction of high blood pressure and the improvement of blood flow including the blood flow in the brain. A healthy blood flow is linked to a healthy brain as it can reduce the odds fo cognitive decline. There are other sources of healthy unsaturated fat found in avocados including nuts, berries, seeds, berries, and certain types of oil.
11. Soy Products
There are several health benefits soy brings to the brain. First, soy is packed full of nutrients that help produce neurotransmitters that improve memory and mental capacities. Second, soy is rich with antioxidants called polyphenol that helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and improve cognitive abilities even while the brain ages. Lastly, soy is also rich with the vitamin B-6 which assists in healthy brain function. Lack of B-6 may lead to cognitive decline, depression, and the development of neurodegenerative diseases.
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