I have been researching brain foods that can help improve memory. There is no such thing as a miracle food (oh wait, what about Kale??!) that can make you smarter but the following items can help, you may not need to know the science behind each and every healthy food item, but they are listed below in no particular order. Without further ado, the top foods for your brain:
- Beef Liver – It’s high in vitamin b12, provides energy for the brain. B12 deficiency causes nerve and brain damage. This meat rather than lamb, pork tips, contains the highest b12 content.
- Asparagus – Protects your brain from dementia and stroke because of its vitamin and mineral content, it also shields it against MCI, stroke and Alzheimer’s dementia.
- Fish (and Omega 3 Fatty Acids) – 50% of your brain is made up of fat and the vast majority is fatty acid called DHA, which is a major component of fish or Krill Oil, you should be consuming this for your general health anyway.
- Berries and Flavonoids – Greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline, greater intakes of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids were associated with this trend. Reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22535616
- Coffee – Caffeine improves attention span, psychomotor performance and cognitive function, as well as and feelings of well-being, is readily available. Tip: Stack with L-Theanine for a calm attentive focus.
- Avocado (Omega 3/Omega 6) – High in fat content and the oleic acid helps with myelin which helps information travel faster in your brain. Oleic acid makes up 1/3rd of the fat in myelin and related foods like almonds and pecans are helpful in speeding up the messaging in our brains.
- Coconut oil (medium chain triglycerides or MCT) – Ketones are a fuel to a starved brain, MCT oil provides instant energy to the brain without requiring glucose or sugars or carbs.
- Broccoli (calcium/vitamin C) – Broccoli is a good source for lignans, a compound that has proven to improve thinking, reasoning, remembering and learning. Additionally it is also high in glucosinolates which halt the decline of neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Brussel sprouts can do the trick here as well.
- Dark chocolate/cacao (flavonols) – Not only will it provide you with endorphins, but they reduce the effects of stress. It is a source of anadamine and it contains phenylethylamine to make you happy. For us, it also increases blood flow to the brain boosting memory, reaction time and helps with attention span. Working memory speed can be improved for up to 2 hours by 30% by drinking 2 cups of hot chocolate. Reference: http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2013/08/07/WNL.0b013e3182a351aa.short
- Spinach (folate and vitamin E) – Spinach is packed with antioxidants that block free radicals. The accumulation of free radicals in the brain is linked to mental decline. Tests on rats showed, rats performed better on a memory and learning test that were fed spinach. Blueberries could be a good alternative as well.
- Bonus: Tomatoes (lycopene) – Tomatoes help your brain! Lycopene too is a powerful anti oxidant found in tomatoes, which helps protect against damage that can lead to things like Alzheimer’s.
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PPS. Check out our entire list of supplements and vitamins here to improve cognition as well.