5 Brain-Boosting Foods That Will Make You Smarter
You are what you eat, as the saying goes. And if you add these foods to your diet, your brain could see serious results.
This tiny but powerful berry helps protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of dementia. In a recent study, researchers gave a group of adults with mild cognitive impairment, a risk condition for Alzheimer’s, freeze-dried blueberry powder daily, while another group took a placebo. After 16 weeks, those who ate the blueberry powder (the equivalent of one cup of blueberries) had improved memory, better cognitive performance, and increased brain activity. Your everyday habits may also reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.
A cup of coffee before a big exam can help your brain perform at its best. That’s because caffeine improves short-term memory and speeds up reaction times. Researchers from the National Institute on Aging found that individuals who drank more caffeine had better scores on memory tests, which explains why has been linked to a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It can also help prevent Parkinson’s disease and relieve headache pain. But don’t overdo it—too much caffeine can make you jumpy or irritable. Look out for the signs that you’re drinking too much coffee.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are terrific sources of vitamin E, which can help prevent cognitive decline as you age. Other vitamin E-rich foods include eggs and cooked veggies. And it’s not just your brain that benefits from nuts; your heart will be happier too. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, and peanuts have been linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, and chia seeds and flaxseeds have been linked to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. This helps every organ in your body—particularly the brain and heart. Avocados also lower blood pressure, thanks to their potassium. Because high blood pressure can impair cognitive abilities, lower blood pressure helps to keep the brain in top form. The fiber in avocados also reduces the risk of heart disease and bad cholesterol. (Just make sure you’re avoiding the worst foods for your brain.)
Whole grains, like brown rice, whole wheat, oats, and barley, boost cardiovascular health, which in turn enhances the flow of blood to the brain. They contain more intact nutrients than processed white flour, including vitamin E, antioxidants, and fiber. When these work together to increase blood flow, the integrity of brain cells is better preserved. To keep your brain sharp, go beyond your diet and incorporate these healthy habits into your routine.