The human brain is unique, although not the largest organ. It gives us the power to speak, make our wildest imaginations and ability to solve problems. The human brain is an irregular globe of moist, jelly-like tissues containing more than ten million nerve cells called neurons. Each neuron has numerous root-like fiber with tiny bulbs at the ends. The human brain is roughly the size of two clenched fists and weighs about 1.5 kilograms. As the control center of the body, it’s in charge of keeping your heart beating and lungs breathing and allow you to move, feel, think, and make concrete decisions. That’s why it’s important to keep your brain in peak working condition. Certain foods that are particularly rich in healthful components like Omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants which are known to support brain health when incorporated in our diets on a regular basis to improve the health of our brain, could translate into better mental function.
When people talk about brain foods, fatty fish is often at the top of the list. This type of fish includes salmon and sardines which are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. About 60% of our brain is made up of fat and half of that fat is the omega-3 kind. Our brain uses omega 3s to build brain and nerve cells which are essential for learning and memory. However, not getting enough omega-3s is linked to learning impairments as well as depression. A study found that people who ate a lot of fish had more gray matter in their brains. Gray matter contains most of the nerve cells that control decision making, memory, and emotions. Overall, fatty fish is an excellent choice for brain health.
If you are a lover of coffee, you will be glad to hear that it’s good for your brain. The two main components of coffee which are caffeine and antioxidants have a number of positive effects on the brain. Caffeine keeps the brain alert by blocking adenosine, a chemical messenger that makes you feel sleepy and also improves your mood by making you feel good. Also drinking coffee over a long period of time can reduce the risk of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are packed with few brain-boosting compounds including flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants. Flavonoids in chocolate gather in areas of the brain that deals with learning and memory. These compounds enhance memory and also help slow down age-related mental decline. Research has proven that; chocolate can increase positive feelings in people who take them.
You can get all the vitamin C you need in a day by eating a medium-size orange. This is also important for the brain as well since vitamin C is a key factor in preventing mental decline. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off the free radicles that can damage brain cells. Eating sufficient vitamin C rich foods like bell pepper, tomatoes, strawberry, Blackberries, guava, apples, and kiwi can protect against mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
As in the case of coffee, the caffeine in green tea boosts alertness, memory, and brain performance. Green tea also has other compounds that make it a brain-heavy beverage. One of them is L-theanine, an amino acid that can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the activity of GABA, which helps reduce anxiety and makes you feel more relaxed.
Eggs are a good source of several nutrients tied to brain health, including vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and choline. Choline is an important micronutrient that your body uses to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory. The B vitamins help slow the progression of mental decline in the elderly. Also, being deficient in the two types of vitamins and folate has been linked to depression. Vitamin B 12 is involved in synthesizing brain chemicals and regulating sugar levels in the brain.
Many foods can help keep your brain healthy. Some foods, such as the fruits and vegetables in the list, as well as tea and coffee have antioxidants that help protect your brain from damage. Others such as nuts, eggs, broccoli, and turmeric contain nutrients that support memory and brain development. You can help support your brain health and boost your alertness, memory, and mood by strategically including these foods in your diet to maintain an optimum healthy state.