Brain-Boosting Nutrition: What to Eat to Improve Brain Function
A well-rounded diet doesn’t just keep your gut healthy; it also boosts your brain. Have you ever wondered what to eat to improve brain function? Today we’ll look at 7 foods that can help boost your cognitive health.
What to Eat to Improve Brain Function
- Whole grains – The brain’s ability to focus and concentrate is dependent on a steady supply of energy, which it gleans from the glucose in our blood. Whole grains release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, helping keep you mentally alert all day.
- Oily fish – Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are not produced by the body, so they must be obtained through diet. The most effective omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, herring, and sardines. They can also be found in plant sources such as flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Our brains use omega-3s to build brain and nerve cells, making these fats essential for learning and memory.
- Blueberries – Blueberries (and other deeply colored berries) contain a protective compound called anthocyanins that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Studies have found that the antioxidants in blueberries help improve memory and communication between brain cells, and may even delay short-term memory loss.
- Eggs – Eggs are an excellent source of several key nutrients for brain health, including folic acid, choline, and vitamins B6 and B12. Studies have found that B vitamins and folic acid can help slow the progression of age-related mental decline. Choline is a micronutrient the body uses to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory. Egg yolks are among the most concentrated sources of choline, a nutrient most people are lacking in their diet.
- Pumpkin seeds – These seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper. Low magnesium levels have been linked to many neurological diseases, including depression, migraines, and epilepsy. Iron deficiency produces brain fog and impaired brain function. Zinc is crucial for nerve signaling and helps enhance memory and thinking skills. The brain uses copper to control nerve signals, and low copper levels lead to a higher risk of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, packing more than 100% of the Recommended Daily Intake into just a 1-cup serving. Vitamin K helps enhance cognitive function and improve memory. Broccoli also contains a number of compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may help protect the brain from damage.
- Nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter – Nuts are packed with vitamin E, which helps keep both the heart and brain healthy and functioning properly. Peanuts and peanut butter are also a source of healthy fats. Overall, several nutrients found in nuts can improve cognition and help prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
Optimize Your Health with Anchor Wellness
You should always discuss major dietary changes with your doctor to ensure they are appropriate for your individual needs. Board Certified in Family Medicine as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Minni Malhotra can help you determine which dietary changes will benefit you most. Call us at (832) 246-8437 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM, today.