Shoot up Your Brainpower with Power Foods

Shoot up Your Brainpower with Power Foods

Mehvish Hamdare profile Authored by Mehvish Hamdare on 8 Dec 2014 - 16:58.

Can your diet make you smarter? You bet. According to the World Health Organization, you can boost brain power by as much as 20%, with the right food. Just as the body needs fuel for optimal functioning, so does the brain to help it perform its roles.

Health experts suggest that just like by the intake of a right diet can prevent heart disease; high blood pressure, intake of certain foods may help boost your mind.

Age, stress, quality and length of sleep, medications, and nutrition can all influence how well your memory functions. With time our mental functions gradually diminish, but the good news is there's plenty we can do to slow this process and the key is, right nutrition. Choosing the right food directly affects the performance of your brain, so the key to boosting your brain power, IQ and memory is nutrition.

Check out these foods to charge your brain:

Include fatty fish

Seafood is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, and other versatile nutrients that are essential and beneficial for brain health. Oily fish contains Ecosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are important for brain development and are associated with lower risk of depression,increased concentration and boosting your mood. Low DHA levels have been linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. According to a study conducted in US, those who ate the fish at least once a week had a 10% slower decline in memory than those without salmon in their diet.

Green tea

According to several studies, drinking green tea helps improve cognitive function as it contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells and amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function. According to a Japanese study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition elders who drink green tea regularly may have sharper minds than those who don't drink green tea. Have a warm cup of green tea to improve your cognitive function.

Go nuts

Many nuts and seeds are good sources of protein, minerals, vitamin E, omega-6 fatty acids and some essential amino acids. Nuts, especially walnut which is a top nut for brain health and almonds, are good for the brain and nervous system. Vitamin E has been shown to prevent many forms of dementia by protecting the brain from free radicals damage, and improves brain power. The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.

Water your brain

Every cell in your body needs water to thrive, and your brain cells are no exception, infact water makes up 85 percent of the brain weight. Researches have shown that dehydration not only shrinks the brain tissues but also adversely affects concentration and memory. Try to drink at least 2-3 litres of fluid a day.

Turmeric

Turmeric contains inflammation-fighting antioxidants that are said to help your brain perform better, besides enhancing your food's colour. Studies suggest curcumin may help clear out amyloid plaques, which is a known cause of Alzheimer’s, and calm inflammation of brain and nerve cells.

Berries

Blueberries are especially rich in antioxidants, which protect blood vessels and the brain from free radicals and reduce neurodegenerative oxidative stress. Diets high in blueberries have been linked with faster learning, sharper thinking, and improved memory retention. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Barcelona, Spain, and published in “Nutritional Neuroscience” in 2005 found that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved the learning capacity, memory and motor skills of aging rats.

Broccoli

The antioxidants found in broccoli are known to help your body retain memory function. Broccoli is high in vitamin K, and choline both of which are known to enhance cognitive function.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed with antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

Eggs

Eggs are a rich source of amino acid choline, which our brain needs to build the neurotransmitter acetylcholine- low levels of acetylcholine, may impair memory. Egg yolks are an important brain food, as they provide nutrients which are essential for proper brain functioning in terms of mental health, nervous system health and cognitive activity. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that higher choline intake was associated with better verbal and visual memory in a group of people ages 36 to 83.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which help to boost your memory and mental speed. They also contain glutamate which is needed by the brain to synthesize GABA, an anti-stress neurochemical. Additionally they contain omega 3 fatty acids which are known for their role in improving mental health, aiding memory and supporting healthy brain development. So snack on pumpkin seeds and give the fried items a skip.

Grains for your brain

Whole grains such as wheat, oatmeal, barley and millet contain complex carbohydrates that can be digested quickly to yield glucose sugar, folic acid which boosts your brain power.It contains B vitamin which affects blood flow to the brain. Since glucose is the brain’s main source of fuel, it’s important to keep levels steady by opting for whole grains which are low in glycaemic index and hence release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day.

The brain robbers

It’s just not a matter of eating the right food that is beneficial for your brain but it is also important to avoid the ones that are bad for your memory and concentration. These include

  • Processed food
  • Alcohol
  • Salt
  • Smoking.

References:

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.