When it comes to improving brain power, choosing the right foods is essential. These 8 healthy brain foods will allow you to use your brain more efficiently, and make thinking faster and clearer. The more you are using your brain, the more it will grow new connections, new cells, and improve your ability to problem-solve and store memories.
Making sure you eat fresh, local organic produce is also crucial. This will get your brain functioning at its peak, because these foods are much closer to their natural state and have a much higher availability of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming highly processed foods that are filled with numerous chemicals are not nutritious, and can actually slow the connections and neuronal firing in your brain.
I should also mention that drinking plenty of water (at least 2 litres or more a day) is very important to help the brain function properly and to help you feel more alert. After all, your water constitutes over 85% of your brain’s weight.
8 Foods that Boost your Brain Power
Berries (blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, red grapes, goji berries, mulberries, seabuckthorn, golden berries, boysenberries, saskatoons, etc.)
Berries are a great food for increasing brain power because of their high antioxidant content. They have been shown to prevent nerve-related degeneration and decline in both cognitive and motor function because they reduce inflammation and improve neuronal cell longevity. The polyphenolic compounds in berries also protect against neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease as well as depression.
Asparagus (and other foods rich in folic acid like okra, spinach, collards, sunflower seeds, romaine lettuce and beans)
Why are foods that are high in folic acid great for the brain? This vitamin has been found to improve memory and cognition in healthy adults aged 50-70 years old. Folic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin which improves cognitive functioning, especially with respect to memory and information processing speed. Consuming foods rich in folic acid like asparagus and spinach will help your brain tremendously!
Avocados are a great healthy fat to include in your diet and they are high in vitamin E. They contain essential fatty acids which are necessary for maximum brain power as well as supporting proper brain growth and development. Omega fatty acids help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and help boost your memory and ability to learn new things!
Carrots (and other foods rich in beta carotene and vitamin C like mangos, oranges, broccoli, tomato, cantaloupe, peppers, and rainbow chard)
Beta carotene rich foods may reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that prevents oxidative stress in the brain which normally damages brain cells leading to rapid brain aging and associated cognitive decline. In studies with groups of individuals taking beta carotene and comparing them to controls (no beta carotene), it was found that the brain was able to function much more efficiently, particularly with respect to verbal memory.
Hemp Seeds (and other healthy nuts & seeds like chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds)
Hemp seeds are high in omega fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and help protect the nervous system. How do they do this? To put it simply, they “feed” and repair the myelin sheaths that protect our nerves, which if not protected, can lead to serious health issues like multiple sclerosis (a disease caused by myelin sheath damage). Omega fatty acids in hemp seeds and other nuts and seeds also help lift depression and those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and can reduce the harmful effects of chronic stress.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (think collards, kale, swiss card, beet greens, green & red leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, and dark green herbs like basil, mint, parsley, cilantro, dill, arugula, and watercress)
Dark leafy green vegetables are known for their ability to keep the brain sharp through aging. These greens are rich in folate (a B vitamin, as mentioned earlier) and can protect against cognitive decline in older adults. Folate helps reduce blood levels of homocysteine (a blood marker of cardiovascular disease), which when high, have been linked to lower cognitive test scores. Leafy green vegetables are also very mineral and vitamin dense, which help keep our brain sharp, and our thoughts clearer.
Bananas are a great brain food. For one, they help lift depression due to their high tryptophan content (a protein that the body converts into serotonin), which helps you relax and improve mood. Secondly, they are remarkably high in potassium (same with medjool dates!) which is a mineral that helps send oxygen to the brain and thus makes you feel more alert. They are also rich in B vitamins which are very important in calming the nervous system and protecting the myelin sheath around our nerves.
Watermelon (and other water rich foods like melon, zucchini, cucumbers and celery)
Ensuring you stay hydrated is a great way to keep your memory sharp, moods balanced and motivation strong. If you are dehydrated (which more than 95% of the population normally is), you reduce oxygen flow to the brain and could temporarily shrink neurons. Consuming water rich foods like watermelon, cucumbers and celery will prevent this from happening and can help you focus better on the tasks at hand.