Your diet not only makes a difference in how you look, it can also have a profound affect on how you think and feel. If you’re trying to improve your mood and cognitive functioning, it may make sense to examine your dietary choices and make a few simple improvements to upgrade your intellectual and emotional life.
Try these seven, scientifically proven suggestions for boosting your brain-power:
- Eat fatty fish. Salmon, trout, and sardines are all rich sources of omega-3’s, fatty acids that studies have shown improve brain functioning. Your brain uses omega-3’s to build brain and nerve cells, and they can also aid learning and memory. Some studies have shown omega-3’s may also be helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Try turmeric. Tumeric is the spice responsible for the yellow color in curry. It can also be made into a tea. Curcumin, a compound contained in turmeric, boosts the levels of BDNF, a brain chemical which increases the growth of new neurons. Emerging evidence shows that curcumin may be useful in treating depression.
- Snack on celery. A recent study showed that luteolin, a compound contained in celery, slowed cognitive decline in mice. It remains to be seen if luteolin has the same effect in humans, but since celery is full of fiber is extremely low-calorie, it can’t hurt to add some to your afternoon snack.
- Go ahead and indulge in dark chocolate. Nutrients called cocoa flavonals, found in chocolate, have been found to improve both mood and reduce mental fatigue. Of course, the health benefits of dark chocolate may quickly be outweighed by the sugar in candy bars, so don’t go overboard. Eat small amounts with low-sugar content to see the benefits of this brain-boosting treat.
- Bust out the blueberries. Scientists have found that blueberries can improve short-term memory, navigational skills, balance, and coordination by increasing communication between neurons. The anti-oxidants in blueberries may also mitigate age-related cognitive decline.
- Cut your sugar intake. Our brains need sugar to function, but too much sugar can reduce memory. A diet high in added sugar can lower the production of BDNF, which is essential for learning. Low BDNF may also lead to depression and dementia. Not all sugar is bad for your brain—don’t worry too much about the naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables, which have other brain-benefitting nutrients. Instead, focusing on limiting your refined sugar intake by cutting back on sweets and processed foods. Your brain will thank you.
- You can’t beat beets. Beets are high in nitrates, which increase blood flow to your brain. A new study finds that when combined with exercise, beet juice improves brain function in older adults. Try some beet juice before a brisk walk to keep your brain functioning optimally into your twilight years.
How you think and feel determines the quality of your life. By incorporating these simple suggestions into your dietary routine, you may find yourself smarter, happier, and healthier all around.
~ Kate Willett is a freelance writer located in Los Angeles, CA. She writes about health, politics, and comedy. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley."
by Kate Willett - Guest Post -