No matter what age you are, your brain can keep growing and developing; all it needs is some exercise and the right fuel. Just like your body, your brain needs the right nutrients in order to keep functioning properly. Your brain uses about 20% of your daily calorie intake. If those calories are high in complex carbohydrates and refined sugars, your brain won’t be functioning at its peak.
If you want to be firing on all cylinders for school, work or exams, there are foods that help to boost brain health and give your grey matter the fuel it needs to succeed.
One of the things your brain needs most is glucose. Without a constant supply, memory loss and an inability to concentrate effectively will leave you scrambling for answers. Healthy sources of glucose include grains, fruits and vegetables.
Unhealthy sources of glucose can be found in candy, soda and products which contain a lot of refined sugar. Consuming too much sugar can negatively affect your ability to concentrate and may prevent you from effectively accessing your memory. These refined sugars also negatively affect your blood pressure. When this spikes and drops, you will be left feeling lethargic and too tired to think straight.
Keep a constant supply of glucose flowing to the brain by eating regular meals. Avoid skipping meals (especially breakfast) and try to eat small, healthy meals every couple of hours. Always aim to get seven servings of fresh fruits and veggies a day.
Brains love iron and this can be found in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. You can also find a ready supply of iron in red meats and some grains. Brains are particularly fond of vitamins from the B-family. These can be found in whole grains, wheat germ, organic eggs, bran, whole wheat, oatmeal, brown rice and nuts.
Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids are really good for brain health. You can find these in oily fish like wild salmon. Walnuts are brilliant brain food as are edible seeds like flax, hemp and chia.
The anti-oxidant properties of berries are legendary and can be found in acai and blueberries. Acai berries are also a great source of Omega-3.
Magnesium is also an important nutrient for healthy brains. You can find magnesium in Swiss chard, spinach, potato skins, quinoa, peas, yogurt, cheese, soy products, tofu, fish, nuts and lentils.
A plant compound called luteolin helps to reduce the effects of aging on the brain as well as brain inflammation. Luteolin can be found in carrots and is also instrumental in promoting good memory.
Pic by Bryan