Michio Kaku, a renowned futurist, says:
“The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.”
That pretty much sums up the importance of the gray matter in our heads. Unfortunately, we indulge ourselves in spas and beauty parlors and get all sorts of treatments for our skin, eyes, lips and almost all of our organs, but brain is always ignored. Fortunately, our mental abilities can be retained by much less effort (and even less cost). Most of the people are unaware of the fact that our brain utilizes energy in only one form i.e. glucose. All other forms of food are broken down into cellular level, and they either help in building, retaining or maintaining the health of brain cells, the energy to power these cells always comes from glucose. That is why a major part of this list consists of sweet watery fruits.
To start our list we have:
1. Omega 3 Rich Foods
Omega 3 is basically the nutrient that is the building block in brain development. Fishes; Salmon and Tuna and walnuts are bursting with Omega 3. Apart from being a key ingredient in brain development, this nutrient helps alleviate your mood and counter depression. The Omega 3 fats are also now available in concentrated amounts as capsules. It is a necessary part of our diet because we may not realize, but mentally strenuous activities can actually degrade our brain cells and reduce our cognitive power.
Needless to say that cereal is a part of healthy breakfasts, all over the world. The reason for this, is the fact that whole grain foods take longer to digest thus they continually provide energy for our bodies and are a major source of energy for the brain. School going children should have bran bread, oatmeals, corn flakes etc. Research has proven that children who eat cereal at breakfast have a longer concentration plan than their undernourished peers.
3. Iron Rich Foods
Beans, green leafed vegetables, chicken, meat (especially beef) are rich in iron. Since the amount of iron in our blood determines how well we are able to learn, our memory and our concentration. Even a slight deficiency of iron can dramatically affect our mental abilities. People who are anemic (having a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood) suffer memory loss, loss of concentration and have extreme difficulty in grasping new concepts. It is highly recommended for people to switch to alternate sources of iron if they are intolerant to one. Luckily, the cognitive powers can be restored by increasing iron intake.
This fruit is just bursting with water and natural glucose. This is the reason why our brain simply loves it. Watermelon keeps us hydrated. Hydration is closely associated with increased brain performance. And the glucose digested from the fruit directly provides energy for strenuous mental tasks. Thirst and dehydration also cause mental degradation. It is vital to stay hydrated in order to increase your brain power. Along with watermelon, cucumber, strawberries and radishes are some of the amazing foods for our brain health.
For people who are constantly forgetting their car keys or the 5th item they were supposed to bring from the grocery store, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries are great for their memory as they are a great memory booster. Add them to your everyday bowl of cereal for great tasting breakfast.
The tomatoes have the magical power of keeping our brain young. The reason behind this is the fact that certain types of fat are responsible for the maintenance of the gray matter in our heads. As we age, the amount of these fats starts lowering and various mental problems start showing up. We can slow down the aging process of our brain by making tomatoes a part of our everyday diet or even eat them as they are just after peeling them.
Especially walnuts and almonds, are extremely effective memory and cognitive boosters. You can soak a couple of almonds in water overnight and consume them later during the day. The reason for doing so is to get rid of the anti-nutrients (although they are present in a very small amount). They contain Omega 3 and 6, Vitamin E and B6 which is essential for our brain power.
8. Dark Chocolate
Our beloved cocoa product is actually a very good brain booster. Chocolate helps cope with depression, improves mood and decreases pain. A bar of sweetened or unsweetened chocolate can help us counter headaches and migraine. Another super advantage of chocolate for the brain is that it prevents radical damage to our brain. Free radicals are the oxygen molecules that attack our cells in the same way oxygen attacks metal. Chocolate is a strong antioxidant and neutralizes these free radicals in the air that we breathe.
Eggs are also rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and help keep our brain in good shape. Another amazing benefit of eggs for our brain is, that they contain Vitamin B12, which fights against dementia and dangerous diseases like Alzheimer. A single boiled egg fundamentally fulfills our entire need of Vitamin B12 for the whole day. For people probably thinking that eggs result in high levels of cholesterol, it’s not entirely true. They do not increase Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL), the “bad” kind of cholesterol.
Turmeric is probably the oldest used plant that helps fight against inflammation. Turmeric contains a compound called Curcumin which helps fight inflammation and heals short term tissue damage. However, Curcumin is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream. It is recommended to consume Turmeric with black pepper, which can enhance its absorption by up to 2000%. The nutrient prevents aging of our brain cells and increases our cognitive power.
11. Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is just bursting with nutrients that our body craves. It is considered one of the most important food and apart from having miraculous powers such as fighting against cancer and weight management, olive oil also helps us fight age related cognitive diseases and can easily satisfy our daily needs of fatty acids. Olive oil, like eggs, fights against dementia and inflammation. Additionally, it helps fight mood disorders and depression.
Fats are simply essential for our brain and a part of our daily dose of fatty acids can be satisfied by yogurt. Combining yogurt with chocolate, berries and whole grains may help us keep our brain cells fit for sending and receiving information. It can sharpen our reflexes and keep our brain cells young by protecting from free radicals since yogurt is an amazing anti oxidant.