Which foods can I eat to give myself a mental boost?
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An article in Psychology Today, highlights the association of the gut and the mind with the immune system and the effect of food on either preventing or causing sickness. Hormones in our gut, which either enter the brain or are produced there influence our cognitive ability, which includes understanding and processing any new information, staying focused, concentration and also recognizing when the body is full. In addition, brain foods are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fats that are good for our body and other than providing energy also protects the brain from diseases. So we have to focus on foods which are beneficial both for our digestive system and our brain.
One of the best diets for the brain is a Mediterranean diet which has been found to keep ageing brains sharp and enhances cognitive functions, concentration, memory and alertness. Eating foods which are brain-healthy encourages a good flow of blood to the brain and nourishes and protects it.
While avocados have been linked to high-fat content, it is to be noted that avocados are packed with monounsaturated “good fats” which is beneficial for us by keeping our blood sugar levels steady and giving our skin a radiant glow. It is one of the healthiest brain-foods; it contains folate and vitamin K and helps prevent blood clots in the brain and also helps to improve cognitive functions, including memory and concentration. Also packed with vitamin B and vitamin C, avocados have the highest protein-content and the lowest sugar-content of all fruits.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids (EFA) cannot be synthesized by the body and needs to be supplemented from elsewhere. The most effective naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are in oily fish which include salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and herring. Other good sources can be found in flaxseed oil, soya bean oil, walnut oil. Low DHA levels have been known to lead to Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. The brain-healthy fatty acid food enhances brain function and are also good for the heart, the joints and for the general health of the body.
Nuts are great for both the brain and the nervous system. Nuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and are also rich sources of vitamin E, which protects the brain against free radicals and helps to prevent dementia. You can eat them raw, but soaking them overnight will make it easier for the body to digest them.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
With the presence of the powerful antioxidant, polyphenols, extra virgin olive oil has been found to be a real brain-food. Including this oil in your diet not only improves learning abilities and memory, but also protects the brain from age and disease related changes. This oil helps in fighting ADDL, which are proteins that induce Alzheimer’s. But the best way to consume olive oil is not by cooking as it decomposes at high temperature, but by eating it at room temperature or cold.
- Coconut Oil
Our brain constitutes of 60% fat and so, low fat-food can be contributing factors to dementia, depression and Alzheimer’s. Hence, incorporating good fats like coconut oil, even in low amounts, can help to increase good cholesterol in the body and at the same time, help in combatting dementia. So, make coconut oil a part of your diet, and prevent the onset of many brain disorders in the long run.Click here to learn more about foods for mental boost.