5 Nutritious Foods Good for Brain Health

The human brain is a powerful organic machine. The brain controls all thoughts, movements and sensations, at the same time predicting and reacting at the speed of light. The brain also functions as a storage cabinet for images, texts, and concepts in an unbelievable amount of data.

Another function of the brain is to regulate thousands of complex functions, usually without having to tell the owner of the body the exact details, such as regulating circadian rhythms, hormonal balance, respiration, unconscious activity, and blood flow. This means that the brain is working non-stop - even while we are sleeping.

Why do we need special food for the Brain?

  1. The brain is the body's most energy greedy organ. With only two percent of our total body weight, the brain can eat more than 20 percent of total daily calorie intake. Then, half of the energy that goes into the bioelectric message signal sent by the brain via neurons travels throughout the body.
  2. What we eat will affect brain performance. We know that food can affect the body, but what we consume also affects our mood, brain energy, memory, and even our body's natural ability to handle stress, difficult problems, or even simple tasks.
  3. The brain likes to be "picky about food". This engine of the body only needs a constant supply of glucose, and it doesn't really need anything else to work properly. But not just glucose. Neurons do not store these simple sugars like other body cells, so they will always starve and always demand their needs. The brain may need a lot of sugar intake, but this does not mean we can eat junk food carelessly. Refined sugar, such as granulated sugar or fructose corn syrup, is not the best choice because if the blood glucose level is too high, it will damage cells throughout the body, including the brain, and actually starve neurons even more.

So, what foods are really good for brain health?

Include this "superfood" in your daily menu, and you can increase your chances of maintaining brain health throughout your life.

1. Avocado

Foods rich in vitamin E - including avocado, which is also high in the antioxidant vitamin C - have been linked to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's.

It is true that avocado is a fruit that is high in fat, but the fat content in this sticky fruit is classified as monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood circulation. Healthy blood flow means a healthy brain.

Hypertension is a risk factor for decreased quality of cognitive abilities. Avocados can lower blood pressure. This means that lower blood pressure will improve overall brain health.

Keep in mind, the calories in avocado are high. It's best to limit your avocado consumption to between a quarter and 1/2 for one meal a day.

Citrus fruits and brightly colored vegetables are also high sources of antioxidants that can help with brain health. There is ample evidence to suggest that lycopene, a compound contained in tomatoes, can help protect the brain from cell damage caused by free radicals that arise in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's.

2. Berry

Reporting from Health, research has found that blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries can help stop cognitive abilities that decline with age by maintaining the brain's "clean-up" mechanism, which can wear out as we get older.

This "clean-up" mechanism helps get rid of toxic proteins and free radicals associated with old age memory loss, and protects neurons from damage.

Evidence gathered from Tuft University, quoted from WebMD, shows that consumption of berries, especially blueberries, can be effective in correcting or delaying temporary memory loss. Blueberries also help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of other cognitive conditions related to age, such as Alzheimer's and dementia.

Also, consume other fruits and vegetables that are dark red or purple in color (prunes, pomegranates, beets, black currants, or purple cabbage), which contain the same protective compounds called anthocyanins.

3. Fish

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and other oily fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids which are good for overall heart and body health. What makes oily fish so good is that they contain the active forms of these fats, EPA and DHA, in ready-made forms, which allow the body to use them with ease.

Essential fatty acids cannot be produced naturally by the body, which means they must be obtained from food intake. This fat is important for brain health. DHA also has an important role in maintaining neuron function.

Low DHA levels have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's and memory loss while having adequate stores of EPA and DHA is thought to help us better adapt to stress and produce a chemical in the brain linked to good mood, serotonin.

If you are a vegetarian, consider taking a plant-based omega-3 supplement, as well as keep your natural intake by adding chia seeds, flaxseeds, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and their oils - which are also high in vitamin E.

4. Dark green leafy vegetables

Kale, spinach, broccoli, and other dark green leafy vegetables are great food sources high in vitamin E and folate.

For example, 225 grams of raw spinach has 15% of your daily vitamin E intake, and 100 grams of cooked spinach make up 25% of your daily intake.

Exactly how folate functions as a protector of brain health is unclear, but it may be achieved by lowering the level of an amino acid, known as homocysteine, in the blood. High homocysteine ​​levels in the blood can trigger nerve cell death in the brain, but folic acid helps break down the homocysteine ​​concentration. High homocysteine ​​levels are also associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, which is known to be effective at improving cognitive function and enhancing brain power. Broccoli also contains high glucosinolates compounds, which function to slow down damage to the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which is needed for the central nervous system in the brain to work properly and at the same time maintaining brain health and sharp memory. Low acetylcholine levels have been linked to Alzheimer's.

Ten percent of women have iron deficit anemia, and studies show that even a mild stage of the condition can affect learning, memory, and focus abilities. Fortunately, restoring iron levels to normal will also reduce this problem.

5. Whole wheat

The brain cannot work without energy. Its ability to focus and concentrate stems from a stable and sufficient glucose intake. Glucose can be obtained from whole wheat seeds with a low glycemic index (Low GI). Whole grain complex carbohydrates are digested very slowly by the body, which allows you to stay alert and focused for hours.

Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals, and brown rice can reduce the risk of heart disease. A healthy heart means good blood circulation. Good cardiovascular health, meaning that you promote good blood intake to all organ systems, including the brain.

Apart from being rich in fiber, whole grains are also high in vitamin E and omega-3.

A variety of a number of foods above can help you maintain brain health. However, don't forget that a healthy diet must be followed by regular exercise that can maintain a smooth supply of blood and oxygen to the brain. Research shows that regular exercise can improve cognitive function, slow down the mental aging process, and help us process information more effectively.

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