Food for Thought: A Brain-Boosting Diet
Many foods are on the market because they’re heart-healthy, but have you considered which foods are essential for your neurological health? Next time you’re thinking up your weekly menu, remember the following foods to help you clear any brain fog.
When most people see the word “fat,” they tend to think “unhealthy.” However, many fats are essential to your health and necessary for the proper functioning of your brain. Over half of your brain is made up of fat, which it uses to build new cells. Incorporate foods with healthy fats, such as nuts, fatty fish, and vegetable oils, into your diet. When looking at nutrition labels, pick options with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats over saturated fats.
Eggs are rich in vitamins B6, B9, and B12, which lower the amount of homocysteine in the blood. Researchers have found that homocysteine may cause irreversible cognitive damage and even lead to dementia. Therefore, eat foods rich in these specific B vitamins, such as eggs, to keep homocysteine at bay and prevent this damage from occurring.
This cruciferous vegetable contains a significant amount of vitamin K, which can have profound benefits on your brain function. A study on the effects of this nutrient showed that higher levels of vitamin K helped improve participants’ ability to recall certain events. In other words, it helped strengthen their memories. Add some broccoli into your diet for a healthy and delicious brain boost.
Not only is dark chocolate good for your heart, but it can also improve your neurological health! Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants that work in your brain to prevent cellular damage from free radicals. A study published in 2016 found that people who regularly eat dark chocolate perform better on a variety of tests that involve memory and abstract reasoning. For the most benefits, look for chocolate made of at least 70 percent cacao.
Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant that enters the brain and helps the cells inside stay healthy. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric can keep neurodegenerative diseases at bay by clearing plaques in the brain that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. These compounds can also boost a growth hormone that creates new brain cells.
For more information on how a balanced diet can improve your health, speak with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician. If you have a family history of neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia, or if a loved one begins to present concerning symptoms, schedule an appointment with a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group neurologist, who can help put you and your family on the path to better health.
Healthline | 11 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory
Harvard Health Publishing | Foods linked to better brainpower
BBC Good Food | 10 foods to boost your brainpower
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health | Types of Fat