Did you know that what you eat has a profound effect on how well your brain functions? It’s true. And while nutrition has always played a key role in overall health. Scientists are now learning more about how your brain responds to the foods you eat.
Stress Could Be Destroying Your Brain
Your body is under constant stress. Physical stress, emotional stress and mental stress. And when these stressful situations arise, your body responds by releasing inflammatory cytokines.1
These chemicals trigger the immune system to fight back. And it does by responding just like it would against an infection, by causing inflammation.
And while inflammation is a necessary response to things like cuts, illnesses and other injuries, when it becomes chronic, big problems can occur.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to serious diseases like multiple sclerosis, anxiety, high blood pressure and even diabetes.
"Let Food Be Thy Medicine..."
So how do the foods you eat factor into all this?
You see, your gut keeps your immune system healthy. Which means a healthy gut helps you fight inflammation too.
In addition, several hormones created in the gut have the ability to enter the brain. And because of this they have a significant influence on cognitive ability, understanding and the processing of new information, staying focused and even the sensation of fullness.2
Plus, certain foods provide high levels of antioxidants, healthy fats, as well as brain boosting vitamins and minerals. It’s this combination of power nutrients that provide you with energy while protecting you from dangerous brain diseases.
So, when you focus on giving your body healthy, whole, nutrient dense foods that benefit both your gut and your brain, you’re benefiting both your mind and your body.
Of course, not all foods have the same effects on your brain, some are more beneficial than others.
That’s why I’ve put together a list of 15 foods that have powerful brain benefits. With a variety of fruits, vegetables, healthy oils and delicious chocolate, there’s sure to be something for everyone.
15 Foods To Boost Your Brain Power
Avocado is a fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) and it’s one of the healthiest there is. And while it’s known for its high fat content, the fat is monosaturated. Monosaturated fat is considered a “good” fat and this type of fat keeps your blood sugar levels stable and your skin soft and healthy.
Avocados also contain both vitamin K and folate. These vitamins have been shown to help prevent blood clots in the brain, which can protect you from having a stroke. They also help improve things like memory and concentration.
And avocados contain high levels of vitamin B and vitamin C. Both vitamins are water soluble meaning they aren’t stored in the body. It also means that they need to be replenished every day. And if that wasn’t enough reason to add avocados to your diet, they also contain the lowest sugar and the highest protein of any fruit.
Beets are one of those foods that people aren’t naturally drawn to. And while the thought of beets for most people doesn’t conjure cravings they happen to be one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet.
Beets are known for their inflammation fighting capabilities as well as their antioxidant properties. Plus, they’re naturally high in nitrates, which helps boost blood flow to the brain.
There’s a handful of fruits that I think people should eat every day and blueberries are on that list. That’s because blueberries happen to be one of the highest antioxidant rich foods around and they are loaded with vitamin c, vitamin k and fiber.
They also contain a compound called gallic acid, which helps protect your brain from degenerative stress.
4. Bone Broth
While I know this is not a normal food for most people it is one of the best ways to heal your gut and ultimately your brain.
Bone Broth is known for its ability to boost your immune system, help with leaky gut issues, improve joint health and relieve food allergies.
Due to it’s high collagen content it also helps with inflammation in the gut and its high amino acid content boosts brain function.
We all know that Broccoli is healthy, but did you know that it’s also one of the best brain foods there is?
It’s high levels of vitamin k and choline help keep your mind clear.3 It’s also a great source of vitamin c providing over 150% of your daily recommended amount per one cup serving.
Most people don’t think celery has much nutritional value. But they couldn’t be more wrong. While it’s true it contains very few calories (about 16 per cup) it is loaded with antioxidants and polysaccharides. This combination acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.
And because it is so low in calories, it makes a great snack. But don’t make the mistake most people do and skip the seeds and the leaves. Both make great additions to recipes and pack a lot of nutrition.
7. Coconut Oil
There is a reason coconut oil is so popular. It’s loaded with health benefits, especially for you brain. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and a good source of healthy fat. It’s known to help with memory and can help rid your gut of bad bacteria.4
8. Dark Chocolate
Who doesn’t love chocolate? But if you think that all chocolate is off limits for those trying to live a healthy lifestyle…think again.
Dark chocolate is actually healthy! It’s loaded with flavonols, which are full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatories. Chocolate can also lower blood pressure and even boost the blood flow to your brain and heart.
But before you go grab yourself an O’Henry, I have to warn you. Not all chocolate is the same. Most of the chocolate sold in the grocery store is highly processed. You need to stick with dark chocolate and the darker the better.
Stay away from milk and white chocolate and stick with minimally processed dark chocolate. A good ratio to shoot for is 70% cocoa or higher.
This way, you’ll get to enjoy some chocolate and benefit your brain too.
9. Egg Yolks
Most experts are all over the place when it comes to egg yolks. And unfortunately, most of them are wrong. Because if you’ve been skipping egg yolks you’ve been missing out on a ton of nutrition.
For starters, egg yolks are super high in choline which is important for fetal brain development. It’s also been shown to breakdown a chemical called Bethane. A hormone related to happiness. Yep, eggs are a happy food.5
And if you’ve always avoided eating whole eggs because of a concern for their high cholesterol, there’s no need to anymore. New studies show that eating egg yolks has zero effect on cholesterol. In fact, it may actually improve the ration of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.
10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Real extra virgin olive oil is one of the best brain foods around. It’s super high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols have actually been shown to help with learning and memory. They can also reverse age and disease-related changes.6
Olive oil also helps fight against toxic proteins called ADDLs that induce Alzheimer’s.7
11. Green, Leafy Vegetables
It’s a well-known fact that salads are healthy. But, they’re also a powerful brain food. Eating green leafy vegetables like kale, Swiss chard and romaine lettuce can help reduce your risk of dementia.8
They’re also full of vitamins A and K. In fact, one cup of Kale has a full 684% of your recommended daily amount. These vitamins help reduce inflammation and are vital for healthy bones.
Rosemary contains Carnosic acid, which helps protect the brain from neurodegeneration. It does so by shielding the brain from chemical free radicals, which are linked to neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s, strokes and normal aging in the brain.9
Salmon is one of the most nutritious, brain healthy foods out there! It’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to significantly benefit overall brain function.
Feeding kids salmon has even been linked to a decline in ADHD and improved focus. Plus, the fatty acids in salmon are known to have anti-cancer properties.
Beware of farm raised salmon though, all of the benefits I’m talking about come from wild Alaskan salmon. Farm raised salmon is full of mercury and other toxins.
Turmeric is by far one of the healthiest nutrients on the planet. This ancient root has been used for centuries.
Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories around, plus it’s super high in antioxidants.
Studies show that eating walnuts can help improve overall cognitive health.10
Due to their high anti-oxidant content as well as the vitamins and minerals they contain they are known to improve mental alertness.
So, there you have it 15 brain boosting super-foods.
Try to incorporate as many as you can each day and watch your focus, concentration and overall brain health improve.