5 yummy foods for improving brain health

09/02/2011 22:39

Feeling like your memory needs a boost? Maybe there is something lacking on your plate. Here are some super foods which can give your neurones a little good shake:

Berries have powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-clotting properties and they also contain antioxidants like vitamins C and E, as well as resveratrol, and to top it all off, most have little glicemy. Berries can help protect brain cells from inflammation, as well as help protect the brain from oxidative stress and the effects of age-related neurodegenerative conditions. Many berries like blueberries, blackberries and acai berries are rich in anthocyanins, the most potent antioxidants. They are so potent that in studies they were found to even revert age-related neurological disorders. Antioxidant-rich foods can prevent age-related neurological declines by improving brain cell abilities to send and receive the ‘signaling’ molecules. The brain uses these signaling molecules to communicate. Remarkably, these same studies showed that the powerful antioxidants in strawberries, spinach and blueberries can improve the ability to communicate even among brain cells already showing signs of age-related damage.

Flax seed and oil
Flax seeds are quite rich in CoQ10. According to a University of California San Diego study, adequate levels of CoQ10 can slow brain deterioration by 44%. Furthermore, people with high levels of CoQ10 have better mental acuity, motor abilities and mental energy. Flaxseeds are the most concentrated source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), with an n-3:n-6 ratio of 4:1. One tablespoon of flaxseeds have 2.5 grams of ALA. Cooking flaxseed oil damages the ALA, but it can be put on warm food such as toast. Flaxseed oil should be kept in the refrigerator. Remember all vegetale oils should be unrefined, extra virgin. Tha means minimal processed, non-heated. Prefer freshly ground flax for better nourishment. This works only for freshly ground flax seed – two tablespoons of them with three tablespoons of water make a nice heathy vegan egg substitute.

The nature's wisdom is amazing even in shapes, as the obvious brain shape of walnuts indicates it's many properties in this area. Natural brain improvement can benefit greatly from walnut properties. Studies have shown potential health benefits for walnuts in the area of memory and general thought processes, also called cognitive processes. Some of the substances that aid so much the brain are the abundant vitamins of the B complex, essential for the brain's health. Walnuts may also help correct the human brain’s seratonin levels, which is an important brain chemical that controls both our moods and appetite. Walnuts may be able to relieve disorders like insomnia, depression, overeating and other compulsive behavior, commonly treated with antidepressant drugs like Prozac, without the dangerous side effects. All the nuts help the brain in a way, but walnuts are truly special for this job.

Broccoli is labeled as superfood due to its high overall nutrient content. It is a great source of vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function and improves brainpower. Broccoli also contains great calcium amounts, which improves nervous system function, and magnesium, which is also a bliss for the brain's health. The latter nutrient is also found in nuts, spinach and whole grains and quinoa, which is not a grain biologically speaking. It has been found that broccoli helps a lot in restoring and improving cognitive activity especially after instances of brain injury. Also, a research published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests the chemical sulforaphane, which is found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage, could help boost the condition of the blood-brain barrier if it is damaged.

For brain health, avocados are nearly as good as blueberries. Avocados contain mono-unsaturated fats, like the linoleic acid, which contribute to healthy blood flow, the main requirement for a healthy brain. They also contain folates and many vitamins B, which adds up to the brain health.
The vitamin E, antioxidant, is richer than any animal foods in this nutrient, and along with the banana, it is also the richest source of vitamin B6. To include avocados to your diet, add 1/4 to 1/2 of an avocado to one meal daily as a side dish, or in a salad. In Brazil, avocados are often consumed in a smoothie or mashed with honey. Homemade guacamole is a easy instant dish which is highly proteic, economic and brain boosting.

White sugar, fluoride in tap water and aluminium pans have been shown to be a punch into the brain's stomach, so, beware of them! Small quantities, or even better, none of them!


Image from Garden Guides