What can you really eat affects how well you do on that exam you’ve been studying for or that presentation you’ve been so worried about? Research suggests that it can. But choosing the right foods can provide more than just an immediate brain boost. With proper nutrition, you can enjoy long-term mental health
Fruits and vegetables are good for your brain as well as your body. Antioxidant-rich foods-particularly deep-colored produce such as berries, beets and spinach helps the body maintain good blood flow, which is essential for brain function. Antioxidants can also help reduce age-related decline by protecting brain cells from damaging free radicals.
Eating blueberries may help maintain mental clarity even as you age, reports Psychology Today. This is because blueberries contain flavonoid phytochemicals called anthocyanidins, which helps brain cells maintain their ability to communicate with other cells. They can also help the body to produce new neurons. This effect is enhanced when blueberries are consumed with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts. Toss blueberries and walnuts with yogurt or blend both ingredients in a smoothie.
Cocoa flavonols found in chocolate improve blood flow to the brain and improve thinking function while providing antiaging protection, according to studies conducted by several universities, including Harvard, Northumbria and Wheeling Jesuit University. As antioxidants, flavonols open up blood vessels and promote blood flow to the brain.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal brain function and development. Research shows a 10 percent reduction in cognitive decline in older adults who eat fish at least once a week, according to the Australian Nursing Journal. Choose cold water fatty fish like salmon, sardines or mackerel, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). If you can not eat as much fish, try flaxseed meal, walnuts or tofu, which are good sources of omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Supplements can also help you consume adequate amounts of this brain-boosting fuel.
A high protein breakfast may boost thinking power, according to Muscle Fitness magazine. A Swiss study found that people eating both a protein breakfast (80 grams protein 20 grams carbohydrates) and a balanced breakfast (50 grams each of carbs and protein) performed significantly better on mental tasks than people who ate a high-carb (80 g maltodextrin and 20 grams of protein) breakfast. Try eggs and whole grain toast, tofu-vegetable scramble with tortilla or a handful of nuts with a fruit.
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