It’s quite simple – you can eat foods that nurture health, or you can eat foods that create disease. Similarly, you can eat brain foods that boost your brain power, or you can eat those that quite literally dumb you down.
So, which came first—the intelligence or the healthy diet? While we can’t be certain, there is definitely a link between food choices and brain function. The better you eat, the sharper your focus. The more sugars and processed foods you consume, the cloudier your concentration becomes. So, here are some brain foods to help you get your thinking on track and boost cognitive performance.
1. Brain Foods – Walnuts
It’s no coincidence that these nuts resemble the brain in appearance—they are an excellent source of brain-boosting antioxidants – more than other nuts. One study reveals they have a dramatic impact on the brain’s ability to process information and come to conclusions (interferential reasoning). Other studies have shown that a diet including more than 2% walnuts was able to reverse brain aging, including age related motor and cognitive defects.
And the other health benefits of walnuts are some you will not want to miss.
There is all sorts of data available on the health benefits of blueberries. They are loaded with antioxidants that can prevent damage from free-radicals. In the brain, these powerful compounds can fight age related cognitive decline, improving neuron function. In addition, blueberries prevent brain degeneration and can boost memory dramatically. In one study, test subjects who ate the most blueberries and strawberries “delayed their memory decline up to 2.5 years when compared with those who did not report eating berries.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil, and particularly extra virgin olive oil, has many health benefits, mostly because it is a potent source of beneficial monounsaturated fats. While saturated fats, found in meats and full-fat dairy products, have actually been shown to age the brain more quickly, monounsaturated fats seem to slow the aging of the brain. One study showed that women who had a high consumption of monounsaturated fat had brains that were about 6 to 7 years younger than their biological age!
Also resting among the brain foods, coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the modern world, and it’s been around for millennia. While your foo-foo drink from the local coffee shop might contain all sorts of sugars and additions not worth the health risks, a free-trade organic coffee can do great things for your focus and brain power. It’s important to note that caffeine is a drug and comes with withdrawal effects when consumed on a regular and consistent basis. But, used moderately, coffee health benefits can be experienced with little or no consequence.
It’s the most natural thing you can consume. You’re made of it and it’s crucial for all of your body’s systems. Without water or without enough water, you are aging your brain at a rapid rate. A 2011 study revealed that dehydration actually causes brain shrinkage! In order to replace fluids lost from urination, defecation, perspiration and respiration, drink one half of your body weight in ounces daily.
Check out these other foods that have been shown to increase brain power and boost mental performance.