1. DARK CHOCOLATE (>70% COCOA SOLIDS)
Good quality dark chocolate is rich in iron and packed full of brain boosting compounds like flavonoids (important for learning, memory and slow down mental decline physiologically and symptomatically), caffeine and antioxidants. This boosts energy levels, concentration, mood and more, whilst protecting the brain cells and encouraging cellular regeneration so that the information is absorbed better, more efficiently and is remembered.
2. OILY FISH
The brain is composed of 60% fats, half of that being Omega 3s. Studies show that people who eat oily fish regularly have more grey matter (contains the nerves that control decision making, concentration, memory function and emotion) than those who don’t.
Omega 3s promote good cognitive health, brain and nerve cellular growth, and slower age-related mental decline. They also help to fight depression and anxiety, improve sleep quality and stabilize blood sugar levels so that you can concentrate, absorb and memorize information better. The body can’t produce Omega 3s naturally, which is why we need to eat them in our diets. Try to eat at least 3 portions of oily fish weekly, such as salmon, tuna and trout.
Packed full of antioxidants that counteract oxidative stress (associated with poor memory and cognitive function, and DNA damage) and inflammation in the brain, when eaten regularly blueberries are proven to delay signs of ageing in the brain, improve memory and communication between brain cells. The vitamins in blueberries play an important role in intelligence as they directly interact with neurons to improve cellular signaling, resulting in optimized body function and alertness. Other dark coloured berries like raspberries and blackberries are equally beneficial, containing high levels of anthocyanin flavanoids; vitamins C and K; fiber and manganese.
DID YOU KNOW… Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of ALL commonly consumed fruits and vegetables?
Unlike prescription medications, turmeric contains Curcumin, one of the few active ingredients that can cross the blood-brain barrier to directly enter the brain and benefit the cells. It also boosts neurotrophic factor (brain cell growth hormone) and stimulates serotonin and dopamine production to improve mood and information absorption.
An extremely powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, turmeric promotes the regeneration of healthy new brain cells, good general brain health, increases attention span and memory, and protects against mental decline and depression, both in healthy people and those who have already been diagnosed with degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimers.
‘People with, or recovering from, depression often experienced lower levels of neurotrophic factor and a shrunken hippocampus (linked to memory and learning). Turmeric boosts these levels and can help to reverse some of the damage.’
Eat It With Black Pepper. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, but studies show that eating turmeric with black pepper can enhance absorption by 2000%.
High in vitamins C and K, and antioxidants to improve brain function and protect against damage. Foods rich in vitamin K are particularly beneficial for brain health as they have anti-inflammatory effects and are essential for forming sphingolipids (fats that are densely packed into brain cells.
6. PUMPKIN SEEDS
Just a tablespoon of these tiny nutritional powerhouses provides a substantial quantity of healthy fats, magnesium (important for learning and memory) and zinc and magnesium (vital for nerve signaling and sleep), as well as antioxidants (inc. vitamin E and carotenoids), polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and folate. Brilliant for promoting good brain health and function, and protecting against neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. dementia, epilepsy). as well as regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure to ensure sustainable levels of energy and concentration.
All nuts benefit brain health, but walnuts are particularly beneficial. High in healthy fats, antioxidants and vitamin E (protects the brain’s cell membranes and slows mental decline), they also contain Omega 3 fatty acids. Studies show that people who eat nuts regularly have better heart health, which is linked to brain health, sharper memory function, better cognition and a lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases than those who don’t.
High in vitamin C, oranges support brain health and memory cognition by providing high amounts of energy to improve concentration and alertness, and contain large amounts of powerful free-radical fighting antioxidants that protect the brain cells from damage and promote healthy regeneration.
One of the best all-round body loving ingredients, eggs are one of the few ingredients to contain high levels of all of the essential amino acids – the brain’s functional and structural building blocks. Extremely high in vitamins A, E, B6, B12, folate and choline (makes acetylcholine neurotransmitters), eggs play an important role in synthesizing brain chemicals and stabolising blood sugar levels. This regulates mood and energy levels; improves memory, cognition and concentration; and protects against anxiety and mental decline.
Water – the most important ingredient for a well functioning healthy brain and body. A human body is composed of over 60% water. Even the smallest degree of water loss can impair physical and mental wellbeing, with dehydration dramatically halting our ability to concentrate, absorb information and memorize.