Keeping our brains healthy as we age is important to deter cancer, dementia and other brain diseases.
You brain needs exercise, especially as we age. Yes, physical activity that helps maintain good blood flow, but also mental activities like puzzles, reading, learning a new language and of course, good food. After all, your brain is the control centre for your brain. Your nerves s[read out from your brain and they’re like the wires of the internet if you will and your brain is the central processor. Did you know that scientists believe our brain holds about a petabyte of information? That’s equivalent to 11,000 4K movies!
Research by Harvard University has shown the same foods for good brain health also help your blood vessels and heart!
So what are some great foods to help you maintain a healthy brain? Here are our top 10!
Top 10 Brain Foods
- Dark Chocolate! Cacao Nibs or Cocoa high in flavonoids. 85% or higher dark chocolate is the better. They help improve mental processing speed and help your working memory.
- Coffee and Tea! Had to be number two on the list, maybe some would prefer it be number one. Some research indicates that over the long term, teas and coffee can help reduce the risk of Alzheimers and Parkinsons.
- Blueberries: These are nutrition bombs! They contain a lot of anthocyanins which help reduce inflammation and antioxidants. All good ways to ward off neurological disease.
- Turmeric: This orange-yellow powder is a key ingredient in curries and many Indian foods. High in curcumin, it promotes neuronal growth and connections. It’s been shown to help with depression and improve memory. It may also help new brain cell growth.
- Pumpkin seeds: Great in salads any time of year, these are full of zinc, magnesium, iron and copper. Critical ingredients for helping ward off neurological diseases and magnesium is critical for healthy nerves too. Oh, and no, a pumpkin spice latte won’t help and oddly enough, it’s usually squash, not pump[kin spice in those lattes!
- Nuts: Almonds, cashews, walnuts, all are jammed full of omega oils and other nutrients that will feed your brain.
- Oranges and Kiwi: If you want the most vitamin C, go for kiwis as they have up to 4 times more vitamin c. A key ingredient for immune health and your brain.
- Eggs: Get cracking! It’s no yoke that eggs are great for protein but they’re also high in choline, a micronutrient that helps with mood moderation and memory function.
- Green tea and Rooibos tea: With green tea, it has caffeine but also is high in L-theanine which stimulates the brain but also helps reduce anxiety. Rooibos is higher in antioxidants than green tea as well.
- Broccoli: Especially the heads, but the main stem can be used in stir-frys and soups. One cup of broccoli gives you more than 100% of your daily intake of vitamin K which helps your cognitive function and memory.
The best way to take advantage of these foods is by ensuring they are part of a healthy diet. Eating a chocolate bar a day is not good for your blood sugar nor is too much caffeine. It’s all about consistency and moderation and eating healthy meals with natural ingredients. Cooking meals from scratch is always best. For broccoli, don’t boil it to a mush either, it’s best steamed anyway to lock in the nutrients.
You might also enjoy this article on the dangers of artificial sweeteners.