The human brain is the largest consumer of oxygen and energy because it actively works 24 hours a day, but in order to work at full capacity, it requires a ‘high quality fuel’. Of course, it refers to the food that stimulates concentration, memory and mood, and partly determines whether we will suffer from some mental or neurological degenerative illness.
We should take care of the food that feeds the brain and also keep in mind what food we should avoid because of its negative effects affecting the central nervous system.
High protein foods are excellent for clearing the mind and mental freshness and that’s why fish (sea fish: primarily salmon, mackerel and sardine and river fish – trout) is an indispensable part of daily diet. Seafood is rich in zinc, a mineral that affects memory improvement, as well as omega-3 fatty acids which are necessary for good brain function.
Note: Protein foods are harder to digest, so it is recommended to combine them with as many fresh vegetables that stimulate digestion as you can.
Fruits such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds are extremely important for the brain. They are rich in proteins, zinc and vitamin E, which improves intellectual abilities. They also contain a high amount of boron, a mineral whose deficiency in the body leads to reduced mental activity. Scientists point out that the brains of people who do not consume enough boron produce more theta waves but less alpha waves, which causes sleepiness.
Note: It is good to know that legumes, fruits, and leafy vegetables contain a great amount of boron.
Whole grains (oats, barley, rye, wheat, spelt, rice) reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The functioning of all organs depends on the amount of blood that reaches up to them, so the food that supports this process has a positive impact on the brain. Cereal grains contain fiber, vitamin E, zinc, proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, and they are the most efficient if consumed in the morning, in combination with honey and dried fruit.
Note: If you decide to combine grains with legumes, you will get completely the same amino acid composition equal to the one in meat.
While saturated fatty acids, especially those in meat and other animal source foods, reduce energy and slow the mental abilities, the healthy fats derived from cold pressed vegetable oils improve memory and balance mood. Studies have shown that even the intake of small amounts of unsaturated fats can cause memory impairment, mood swings and insomnia. For this reason make a smart move and choose healthy fats like those in olive oil, grains, nuts and other stone fruits and try to avoid bacon, processed meats, pastries, industrial sweets, potato chips and other salty snacks.
Blueberries and currants
These berries contain important phytonutrients that enhance the ability of memory and reduce the effects of chronic degenerative processes such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Studies have confirmed that people who regularly consume blueberries improve their mental and motor skills and rejuvenate their body. It is enough to eat a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries or cranberries a day.
Green leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, lettuce, Brussels sprouts – all these foods deserve an important place in the daily diet, as they are very useful for the human health. Green leafy vegetables are rich in iron and the lack of this mineral is associated with restless legs syndrome, fatigue, bad mood and confused thinking.
Believe it or not, only one “rosebud” of broccoli contains more vitamin C than two apples, which is of extreme importance for the brain functioning. Broccoli is rich in iron and potassium, and thanks to the strong antioxidant effect broccoli improves the response of nerve impulses to stimuli and provides mind sharpening. It is recommended to eat it fresh or briefly boiled.
Tomato contains lycopene, an antioxidant which is particularly useful for the brain, and helps in prevention of dementia. One research that was conducted in Finland has shown that lycopene reduces the risk of stroke by 55 percent. It is interesting that there is a higher amount of lycopene in cooked tomato than in a fresh one. Anyhow, it is recommended to eat as many of these heavenly fruits as you can during the summer as well as to consume sugar and preservative free tomato juice in cold winter days.
Cocoa is one of the foods that have a great impact on the brain. For this reason chocolate is considered to be the brain food, but it is necessary to know that cocoa and chocolate are not the same. The beneficial powder should be eaten in pure form, not through the chocolate, which contains a large amount of sugar and fat, which negatively affects our health. Cocoa ingredients, whose beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system has been clinically proven, are useful for the brain because they stimulate blood circulation. It is preferable to mix it with muesli and cereals.
Note: It is possible to make a healthy chocolate mixing cocoa with honey, vegetable milk powder, almonds and carob. This delicacy is eaten with a spoon, because it is softer than the chocolate that we are used to.
This tropical fruit, originating from the United States, contains the vast amount of minerals and trace elements, even three times more than the other fruit. Avocado is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and manganese, and therefore at the same time reduces fatigue and anxiety and strengthens immunity. It is full of healthy fats that stimulate blood circulation, which further stimulate intellectual abilities. It can be used for preparation of various dressings and sauces.
Pomegranate and citruses
Orange, lemon, grapefruit and pomegranate are real vitamin bombs that have a positive effect on the central nervous system. This fruit is rich in antioxidants that protect the brain from free radicals, and it is believed that the neurons are most sensitive to free radicals. So, do not start the day with a cup of coffee and a cigarette, but refreshing drink made from these fruits! You will feel an amazing influx of energy and secure yourself a long-term health in the long run.
The products that are not good for our brain:
Believe it or not, alcohol kills brain cells instantly and interferes with the production of dopamine. However, occasional and moderate consumption of quality red wine can be useful because it contains antioxidants.
Scientists claim that sugar literally fries our brain if we eat in excessive quantities, so it means that we consciously decide to become stupid. Immoderate consumption of sugar slows the thinking process, reduces IQ and guarantees early dementia.
Nicotine reduces the blood flow in the brain and has a very negative impact on the function of the central nervous system.