When people talk about brain food what do they really mean? Registered dietitian and health line team member Alina Petre believes the food we eat is vital to keeping our brain healthy and helps improve our concentration and memory. With so many distractions in the modern world, here are the top 5 foods suggests by Ms Petre to help us concentrate.
These types of fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. About 60% of our brains are made of fat, and half of this is omega-3 fatty acids. In turn our brains use this to build brain and nerve cells, not to mention these special fatty acids are essential for learning and memory. There is also an increased risk associated with a lack of omega-3 fatty acids so it is important to try to get fish into your diet at least twice a week.
Blueberries and other dark coloured berries, more recently known for their super fruit powers, deliver anthocyanins. These plant compounds have antedates and anti-inflammatory effects. Some of the antioxidants in blueberries are found to accumulate in the brain which can help improve the communication between our brain cells. Adding them into your diet is as easy as sprinkling them onto your oats in the morning.
The main ingredient in coffee which is caffeine is known to increase alertness by blocking adenosine which is a chemical messenger that is meant to make you sleepy. There is also evidence to say that it can improve your mood as it helps boost your “feel good” neurotransmitters. A study has also found that if you drink one large coffee or smaller amounts during the day it can make you more effective at tasks requiring you to concentrate. Studies suggest that, due to the caffeine and antioxidants in coffee, long term it can help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Broccoli is a great source of nutrients that help brain function. Vitamin K helps strengthen cognitive abilities and delivers more than 100% of the recommended daily intake. It is also packed full of antioxidants. A study has linked having more vitamin K with better memory. Compounds found in broccoli have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which can help protect our brain against damage. Try to put broccoli in a variety of dishes for dinner at least four times a week.
Turmeric has been causing a bit of a stir recently. This yellow spice is one of the ingredients in curry powder. Curcumin which is the active ingredient in turmeric is shown to be able to cross the blood barrier meaning it can directly enter the brain which untimely can benefit the cells. It also has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that have been linked to improved memory in those suffering from Alzimers. There has also been research into Curcumin being able to help clear the amyloid plaques which are hallmarks of the disease. Curcumin also is known to boost dopamine and serotonin which can improve your mood and may even help with depression. Cooking with curry powder is a good way to get curcumin into your diet.