About us > 7 Dimensions of Wellness & The 4 Ages in a Life Cycle > Intellectual Wellness

Food for thought

There is no denying that as we grow old, our brain function may decline. The good news is that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain if you add smart foods and beverages to your diet.

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Oysters


If you are a seafood kind of person, then you have another reason to enjoy it. Experiments have shown that oysters are great for your brain, no matter your age. Because they are rich in zinc as well as iron, eating this under-the-sea delight will help to keep your mind sharp and increase your ability to recall information easily. Zinc and iron have been linked to the brain’s ability to stay focused and improve memory. A lack of zinc and iron can result in memory lapses, poor concentration, and other ailments throughout the body.

 

Whole grains


If you have ever tried to lose weight, you know just how healthy whole grains are for your body. Do you know that they are also great for your brain? Whole wheat, bran, and wheat germ have high contents of folate, as do brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain breads, barley, and others. All of these foods work to increase blood flow to the brain which means better brain functioning. Also, these whole grain foods contain a lot of vitamin B6, which is full of thiamine. Thiamine is great for anyone who is trying to improve their memory. Scientific research has shown that memory loss dramatically increases by the time you reach your late 60s or early 70s so whole grains are especially good for you as you get older.

 

Tea


Forget your coffee in the morning - try a cup of tea! Freshly brewed green or black tea is extremely beneficial to your brain because it is full of catechins. Have you ever had a day where you just feel drained, tired, and “too lazy” to think? It may be because you are lacking catechins in your brain. Catechins are great for keeping your mind sharp, fresh, and functioning properly. Not only do they keep your brain working right, they also allow it to relax and help to fight against mental fatigue. While green tea is much more potent than black tea, both are extremely good for you. Tea is definitely a great thing to drink early in the morning to ensure you are starting your brain off right.

 

Eggs


When we get older, our brains begin to shrink due to something called brain atrophy. However, we can fight against this natural process by eating eggs. This is because eggs are full of vitamin B12 as well as lecithin. Vitamin B12 helps to fight against brain shrinkage, which is often seen in Alzheimer’s disease. Eggs are full of essential fatty acids. The yolk, though very high in cholesterol, is also high in choline, which is a very important building block of brain cells. Choline can help improve your memory. While eating too many eggs can be bad for your health, eating 1-2 egg products a day can be great for your brain.

 

Curry


This spicy food is a great way to spice up your brain and keep it fresh. A main ingredient in curry powder, curcumin is full of antioxidants that help fight against brain ageing and maintain cognitive function as you get older. These antioxidants also fight against free radical damage that can occur within the brain as well as the body.  Free radicals can cause inflammation and other ailments within the body. Not only is curry good for your brain, it also can fight against diabetes and heart disease. Too hot for you to handle? You don’t have to have curry for lunch and dinner each day. A small amount of curry once a month can be highly beneficial for your brain.

 

Berries


If you are not a vegetable person, you can rely on fruit, especially berries, to improve your brain health. For example, blueberries are well known for improving motor skills as well as overall learning capacity. They are often called the best berry for your brain, and today you may notice the plethora of products using blueberries. Most berries, including blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, are full of antioxidants that are great for boosting the brain. You can help reverse the effects of ageing on the brain by eating these berries once a day. Berries are sometimes referred to as “super-fruits” because most of them contain fisetin and flavonoid, which are great for improving your memory and allowing you to easily recall past events.

 

Nuts and seeds


Looking for a snack that has everything good for the brain in it? Look no further than nuts and seeds. The good thing about this is that all types of nuts are included. This means peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and any other type of nut or seed you can think of, are good for your brain. Nuts and seeds are full of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as folate, vitamin E, and vitamin B6. All of these nutrients allow you to think more clearly. They also help you think more positively, because Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids work as natural anti-depressants. Some seeds and nuts are also full of thiamine and magnesium, which are great for memory, cognitive function, and brain nourishment.

 

Leafy green vegetables


Leafy green vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, and others are excellent for the brain. This is because these foods are often full of vitamin B6, B12, and folate, which are great compounds needed within the brain to break down homocysteine levels, which can lead to forgetfulness and even Alzheimer’s disease. These vegetables are often very high in iron content. If there is not enough iron intake, cognitive activity slows down greatly. So when mom always urged you to eat your spinach, now you know why.

 

Fish


Eating fish overall is greatly beneficial to your health, especially that of your brain. Fish is full of Omega-3, which is a fatty acid known to be highly beneficial to the body in various aspects. Eating one serving of fish a week can highly decrease one’s chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. These fatty acids help with brain function because they coat the neurons that at times have a fatty acid layer that becomes stiff due to a high content cholesterol and saturated fat in the body. Omega-3 will coat the neurons with good fat, allowing them to move easily throughout the brain. Omega-3 also provides more oxygen to the brain, as well as allows one to retain new information while still remembering old information. The best fish to eat for brain health are salmon, tuna, and herring.

 

Chocolate


While eating hundreds of chocolate bars may make you sick, and drinking a lot of hot cocoa in a day just may do the same, the main ingredient in these delicious foods, cocoa, is said to be very nutritious for the brain. Scientists have proven that the antioxidant content found in just two or three tablespoons of cocoa powder is much stronger than those antioxidants found in other foods, such as green tea or red wine. The main antioxidant found in cocoa, known as flavonols, is said to help increase blood flow to the brain. While normal milk chocolate lacks flavonols, you will find plenty of it in dark chocolate.

 

The connection between what goes in your body and how your brain performs is a strong one. Keeping these nutritional tips in mind will provide you brain-healthy ways to eat.


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