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11 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory

Your brain is kind of a big deal.

As the control center of your body, it’s in charge of keeping your heart beating and lungs breathing and allowing you to move, feel, and think.

That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your brain in peak working condition.

The foods you eat play a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration.

This article lists 11 foods that boost your brain.

1. Fatty fish

When people talk about brain foods, fatty fish is often at the top of the list.

This type of fish includes salmon, trout, albacore tuna, herring, and sardines, all of which are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids (1Trusted Source).

About 60% of your brain is made of fat, and half of that fat is comprised of omega-3 fatty acids (2Trusted Source).

Your brain uses omega-3s to build brain and nerve cells, and these fats are essential for learning and memory (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).

Omega-3s also offer several additional benefits for your brain.

For one thing, they may slow age-related mental decline and help ward off Alzheimer’s disease (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source6Trusted Source7Trusted Source).

On the flip side, not getting enough omega-3s is linked to learning impairments, as well as depression (3Trusted Source8Trusted Source).

In general, eating fish seems to have positive health benefits.

Some research also suggests that people who eat fish regularly tend to have more gray matter in their brains. Gray matter contains most of the nerve cells that control decision making, memory, and emotion (9Trusted Source).

Overall, fatty fish is an excellent choice for brain health.

SUMMARY

Fatty fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, a major building block of the brain. Omega-3s play a role in sharpening memory and improving mood, as well as protecting your brain against cognitive decline.

2. Coffee

If coffee is the highlight of your morning, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s good for you.

Two main components in coffee — caffeine and antioxidants — can help support brain health.

The caffeine found in coffee has a number of positive effects on the brain, including (10Trusted Source):

  • Increased alertness. Caffeine keeps your brain alert by blocking adenosine, a chemical messenger that makes you feel sleepy (11Trusted Source12Trusted Source).
  • Improved mood. Caffeine may also boost some of your “feel-good” neurotransmitters, such as dopamine (13Trusted Source).
  • Sharpened concentration. One study found that caffeine consumption led to short-term improvements in attention and alertness in participants completing a cognition test (14Trusted Source).

Drinking coffee over the long-term is also linked to a reduced risk of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The largest risk reduction was seen in those adults who consumes 3-4 cups daily (10Trusted Source15Trusted Source).

This could at least be partly due to coffee’s high concentration of antioxidants (16Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Coffee can help boost alertness and mood. It may also offer some protection against Alzheimer’s, thanks to its content of caffeine and antioxidants.

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