Top 8 Nutrients for Brain Health
From foods rich in brain-boosting ingredients to supplements packed with nutrients for optimum cognitive functioning, there are many easily viable ways to support brain health. Check out our top picks below to incorporate into your daily routine.
- Whole grains. While adequate sleep is essential, getting the right fuel through food for energy is also important for concentration and focus. Choose whole grains with a low glycemic index that are digested slowly, such as whole grain cereals, pasta, and brown rice, which provide sustained energy.
- Omega-3. These essential fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, occurring naturally in oily fish, including salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, and kippers in the form of EPA and DHA. Sufficient levels of EPA and DHA are associated with production of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. And because low DHA levels have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss, omegas therefore support brain health, besides boosting mood. For vegans, opt for flaxseed, soya beans, pumpkin seeds and walnuts. Supplements are also a convenient option.
- Vitamin E. Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that vitamin E can help delay cognitive decline. Good food-based sources include nuts, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs and brown rice.
- Blueberries. Rich in protective compounds called anthocyanins, blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss, according to studies from Tufts University.
- Vitamin K. To boost brainpower and enhance cognitive function, load up on broccoli. Rich in compounds called glucosinolates, it aids in neurotransmitter processes which keep the brain and memory sharp.
- Tomatoes. High in lycopene, a potent antioxidant, tomatoes are a tasty way to help ward off the development of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s, as a result of their highly protective capacity against free radical damage to cells. For optimum absorption, opt for cooked tomatoes.
- Vitamin C. The use of vitamin C to protect against age-related brain degeneration has a long history. Citrus fruits, red peppers and broccoli are good sources.
- Turmeric. This potent herb is widely used in curry dishes, but is excellent when added to many other foods as well, such as veggie burgers, smoothies, soups and more. It is also commonly taken in supplement form. Containing the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant curcumin, this multi-benefit powerhouse has been shown to boost memory and stimulate the production of new brain cells.
Always be sure to choose food and supplements that are organic, non-GMO, and free of fillers and artificial colors to ensure true potency and safety.