Eating well is good for your mental as well as yourphysical health. The brain requires nutrients just like your heart, lungs or muscles do. But which foods are particularly important to keep our grey matter happy and healthy?
Here are 5 brain boosting foods.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body which means they must be obtained through diet. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish in the form of EPA and DHA. Good plant sources include linseed (flaxseed), soya beans, pumpkin seeds,walnuts and their oils. These fats are important for healthybrain function, the heart, joints and our general wellbeing. What makes oily fish so good is that they contain the active form of these fats, EPA and DHA, in a ready-made form, which enables thebody to use it easily. The main sources of oily fishincludesalmon,trout,mackerel, herring,sardines, pilchards and kippers. Low DHA levels have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss whilst having sufficient levels ofboth EPA and DHA is thought to help us manage stress and helps make the good mood brain chemical, serotonin. Consider a supplement if you’re vegetarian. Those following a vegan diet may wish to supplement daily with a plant-based omega-3 supplement, and as a vegan don’t forget to add seeds like linseed andchiato your diet.
There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found intomatoes, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Favour cooked tomatoes and enjoy with a littleolive oiltooptimise absorption and efficacy.
Richer in zinc than many other seeds, pumpkin seeds supply this valuable mineral which is vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills. These little seeds are also full of stress-busting magnesium, B vitamins and tryptophan, the precursor to the good mood chemical serotonin.
Broccoliis great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.Researchers have reportedthat because broccoli is high in compounds called glucosinolates, it can slow the breakdown of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which we need forthe central nervous system to perform properly and to keep our brains and our memories sharp. Low levels of acetylcholine are associated with Alzheimer’s.
A study published in theAmerican Journal of Epidemiologysuggests that a good intake of vitamin E might help to prevent cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly.Nutsare a great source of vitamin E along with leafy green vegetables,asparagus,olives, seeds,eggs, brown rice andwholegrains.