The 4 Best Foods for Your Brain

To stay smart and keep your brain active, what you eat is very important. With sufficient amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, you can help boost your brain and reduce your risk of memory loss and cognitive decline. Below are some of the best foods for your brain.

1. Cocoa

Cocoa is produced from fermenting, drying, and roasting cacao beans. It contains flavanols, which help to improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and also helps to lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots and fight cell damage. A 2011 study examined 30 adults who consumed dark chocolate (rich in flavonols) before taking visual and cognitive tests. One week later they took the same tests after consuming white chocolate, which lacks the flavanols found in cocoa. The researchers realized that the dark chocolate the test subjects consumed helped to improve their cognitive performance, spatial memory and reaction time.

2. Berries

Berries are a rich source of phenolic compounds, particularly anthocyanins, potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory chemicals that give them their bright colors. They also contain polyphenols, an antioxidant that may help to improve memory capabilities and delay the onset of dementia by reducing inflammation and damage caused by free radicals. A 2010 study showed that adults with mild cognitive impairments who consumed blueberry juice for 12 weeks were able to perform better in word-recall tests.

3. Fatty fish

Fatty fish are loaded with important nutrients like proteins and vitamin D, and is also known as the world’s best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is very important for optimal brain function. A 2014 study found a risk association between low levels of omega 3s, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), and cognitive decline. Examples of fatty fish are salmon, sardines and halibut.

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4. Legumes

Legumes are commonly known as dried beans and peas, and nearly all of them are a good source of protein, fibers, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium. These nutrients may help your brain stay sharper longer. Legumes are also free of saturated fat and have no cholesterol, so you can replace the meat in your recipes with them. A 2012 study shows that people who take legumes and vegetables consistently have lower risks of cognitive decline.

These meals are great for the brain, but you may also want to take up other healthy lifestyle choices such as getting sufficient amounts of sleep and staying physically active.

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