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October 29, 2019 | Abigail Mckay

These Foods Help You to Boost Brain Power & Memory

The human body is pretty much a marvel and a mystery. Our heart is constantly beating, our lungs are constantly expanding and relaxing as we breathe, and our joints are being directed to move. However, no organ compares to the human brain in terms of complexity.

This three-pound organ sits inside the neural cavity. The human brain controls every function that occurs in the body; in a way, the brain is responsible for maintaining ‘humanity.’ Your actions, thoughts, and emotions are all generated inside of the brain and then it generates appropriate responses to bring about a reaction.

All in all, brain functioning is referred to as your cognitive ability. Cognitive ability is defined as the mental process of acquiring and understanding through thoughts and reasonable deductions.

A decline in your brain's thinking, learning, and understanding capacity is manifested in the form of cognitive decline. Common medical conditions associated with this are Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety.

Foods That Boost Brain Power

Cognitive decline is a manifestation of several medical conditions, but it is also a part of the body’s natural process i.e aging. In short, you cannot avoid losing a few brain cells as you cross your sixties.

However, studies have shown that adolescents as young as fourteen and fifteen have been experiencing early-onset symptoms of cognitive decline. Damage to your brain is often unrepairable.

The question is, how can you boost your brainpower? There are understandably complex procedures and rigorous exercises you could follow to improve your brain’s power. However, sometimes all you need is where you’re least likely to look: the pantry.

Food and nutrition are necessary for sustenance; a part of which is your thinking capacity. Your brain, whilst weighing only three pounds, consumes a major portion of your daily caloric intake. Food can make a difference.

Besides alcohol and tobacco, nothing that we particularly ‘consume’ has been incriminated in bringing about a negative effect on your cognitive ability. There are, however, several food groups that have been lauded for improving your thinking capacity.

These foodstuffs are adequately termed as ‘super-foods.’

Best Foods to Improve Memory

1. Coffee

Caffeine has been linked to several health benefits in adolescents and the elderly. The chemical compound has been researched well enough to classify it as a super-food. Caffeine helps in:

  • Lowering the risk of heart conditions
  • Decreasing the probability of developing Diabetes Type II
  • Fighting against inflammatory disorders
  • Improved cognitive ability
  • Lowering the probability of developing dementia

Entropy, complex and viable brain activity, is also said to increase in people who drink coffee regularly compared to those who do not. Coffee is a known mood booster. It accomplishes this by blocking adenosine, a chemical compound generated in your brain that makes you sleepy.

Cognitive benefits of coffee include:

  • Increased alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Better concentration

2. Fatty Fish

60% of your brain is made up of fat and nearly half of this is omega-3 fats. Omega 3 fats consist of a group of fats referred to as essential fats, something your body needs external sources of and cannot generate itself.

Fatty fish includes salmon, albacore tuna, and mackerel that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. The fat obtained from oily fish can supplement increased memory functioning, alertness, and boost your brains’ cognitive abilities.

While research is still being conducted on the improved benefits of fatty fish for brain activity, concurrent research shows an increased likelihood of developing anxiety and depression in people who do not consume enough omega-3s.

3. Leafy Fruits and Vegetables

The list of benefits for fruits and vegetables is practically endless. Fruits and vegetables are rich in polyphenols - phytochemicals that are categorized as either flavonoids or non-flavonoids.

Polyphenols have been linked directly with improved cognitive abilities.

4. Eggs

Eggs comprise a part of any normal, healthy breakfast. They are also linked with improving brain functioning and activity. Eggs contain a long list of nutrients, including:

Another important nutrient that eggs are known to be the major source of is choline. Choline helps in producing acetylcholine, a chemical neurotransmitter that helps in maintaining your brains’ normal functioning. Adequate intake of choline is 425 mg per day for most women and 550 mg per day for men, with just a single egg yolk containing 112 mg.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric has been aptly referred to as the ‘golden’ spice. This name isn’t attributed solely to its rich yellow color but to the plethora of benefits linked with the spice.

The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that can help in improving cognitive functioning. Currently, research is being done to demonstrate a link between turmeric and the reduced likelihood of depression and Alzheimer’s.

Some proven benefits of turmeric for brain functioning include:

  • Improved memory
  • Easing depression
  • Helps in regenerating brain cells and tissues

Food For Thought - Literally!

It is taught by the medical community that our food impacts our digestive and heart health, but it is essential to understand it also contributes to our brain health.

The brain, just like the rest of the cells in the body, needs food to produce energy, which ensures that it can function optimally. The brain controls every other system in the body, so we mustn't just eat food to maintain our physique.

Our brain health should matter as much as our gut health and heart health.  It is vital to supply our brain with food to boost its ability and capacity not just today, but also to protect and support the brain long-term.

Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, like those high in antioxidants, support memory and boost brain development. However, there is no cure or absolute preventative measure for cognitive decline due to age.

The decline in brain function and capacity is just a normal part of the aging process. However, research is now showing that a healthy and well-rounded diet can decrease the likelihood of premature memory decline.

More factors can contribute to the possibility of cognitive dysfunction, such as genetics and chronic medical conditions. These particular factors cannot be influenced.

Interestingly enough, the same foods that can positively influence heart function can also boost brain function. So, consuming a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and foods high in vitamin B can be beneficial, in addition to antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory foods.

Consulting a Physician

Signs of impaired cognitive abilities might manifest themselves in early adolescence. In this case, it is vital to consult a physician or an expert immediately. The physician will conduct basic cognitive function tests to establish a baseline of the patient’s cognitive ability.

Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.