Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains go through changes as we age. While we can’t turn back time, we can slow down some of its effects with good nutrition—even children and young adults need to fuel their growing brains. When it comes to pumping up your brain power, look no further than these deliciously nutritious brain-boosting foods!
Veggies as brain food
Green, leafy veggies like kale, bok choy and cabbage, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower are rich in antioxidant compounds that slow down brain aging and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Healthy fats and proteins
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, avocado, plant oils, nuts and seeds. Among their many health benefits, omega-3s help build and repair cells in the brain (called neurons), and they seem to reduce levels of beta-amyloid, a protein that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease. Eggs are sometimes fortified with omega-3s, and they also contain vitamins B6 and B12, and folic acid—important nutrients that are shown to delay cognitive decline and prevent the shrinking of brain tissue.
Berries contain several flavonoid antioxidants that help to improve memory and protect against age-related declines in brain function. In addition, a non-flavonoid antioxidant called resveratrol is found in foods like peanuts, rhubarb and mulberries. Resveratrol appears to help protect the brain from inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
You should never feel guilty about a chocolate habit! Dark chocolate contains plants compounds called flavonoids, plus other antioxidants, which encourage blood flow to the brain. They also promote growth in brain cells and blood vessels in the parts of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
The caffeine in coffee not only helps you feel more alert—it also improves concentration and helps memory function. Even more impressive are coffee’s high levels of antioxidants, which help slow the normal decline in brain power as we age, and reduce the risk of stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Who knew that a morning cup of joe could do so much?