Can nutrition have direct consequences on our nervous system and brain? Certainly yes. The brain is the seat of thoughts, emotions, moods, and consciousness, but it is an organ that - like the heart or intestine - works thanks to the nutrients it receives, based on chemical reactions and electrical impulses. Just like "what is good for the heart is good for your brain", according to the World Alzheimer’s Report 2014, foods that are harmful to the heart can also be harmful to the brain. Read this article to find out the best brain foods.
Food for brainpower
Food is not just a source of nourishment, energy, and support for your body. Some foods have remarkable capacities to act, in addition to physical support, also as a protection of cognitive functions.
Having appropriate nutrition, which stimulates brain skills, will maximize the results in case of study, examinations, or at work. This is because the levels of concentration and mental clarity will increase considerably. Putting the right brain foods in the dish allows you to get all the nutrients needed for cognitive health.
Food for brainpower? Some tips for you
- A varied and balanced diet
- Low-calorie foods
- Foods rich in antioxidants
In general, in addition to the individual foods that most of all contribute to the improvement of cognitive functions, it is useful to follow some simple indications: having a varied and balanced diet, preferring low-calorie foods, and being rich in antioxidants. Reducing calorie content protects the brain from oxidative damage. The brain is particularly exposed to oxidative damage due to its high metabolic activity. Several antioxidant foods have positive effects on neural function, promote learning and memory performance, and are able to improve cognitive functions, protecting the brain from free radicals and lipid peroxidation. But what are the best brain foods? Keep reading.
Here is a list of the best food for brainpower:
Whole grain. The energy reaches the brain in the form of glucose in the blood, which must be released slowly to avoid glycemic peaks that, on the contrary, would greatly reduce the level of mental concentration. It is advisable to always choose the unrefined whole grain, starting in the morning, preferring the full and nutritious breakfast cereals (based, for example, on rice, wheat, and barley).
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, such as mackerel, salmon, sardine.
Nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with other oleaginous fruits such as almonds, cashews, pecans, Brazilian nuts, and hazelnuts. Even the seeds, ideal to add to salads and soups, or in the dough of bread, are rich: sesame seeds, flax, and sunflower.
Broccoli, cauliflower, savoy cabbage, Brussels sprouts are seasonal vegetables precious for cognitive functions, as well as to strengthen the immune system. They are rich in vitamin K and glucosinolates, able to maintain high concentrations of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, support for the proper functioning of the central nervous system, and for strengthening memory.
Tomatoes are powerful antioxidants that help protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals. The beneficial effect of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant hydrocarbon found in tomatoes, helps protect brain cells by preventing dementia.
Berries, rich in flavonoids, and, in general, dark red and violet fruits and vegetables - black grapes, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, but also beets - improve blood supply to the cerebral cortex and activation of memory-related areas.
Green tea is an excellent antioxidant and inhibits acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that damages acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter implicated in memory.
These are considered the best brain foods, given that a diet that brings together these foods, according to some studies, would be able to provide an adequate intake of fatty acids (omega 3), vitamins (E, B, and C), antioxidants (lycopene, flavonoids) useful for the proper functioning of the brain.
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