Here at Daily Superfood Love, we enjoy finding foods that are both nutritious and delicious for you to add to your table. Today’s list is about the best brain foods out there to keep you thinking younger for many years to come!
We’re starting with the one that probably makes most of you wrinkle your noses!
Before you discard this root vegetable that children the world over consider torture, you should know that your brain absolutely loves beets.
Brain foods like beets increase overall blood flow to the brain due to their content of natural nitrates. These compounds are converted to nitric oxide by your body, which helps keep the blood vessels open and supple, carrying nutrients and oxygen, that keep your cognition in peak shape.You can fine dice them to add to soups or salads, bake them in casseroles, or try this delicious Beet Carrot Ginger Juice recipe courtesy of Joy Bauer! (Hint: It’s delicious!)
- 2 ½ small beets boiled, roasted, or canned
- 2 cups baby carrots
- 1 small apple (cored but unpeeled)
- 1 slice ginger root (approximately ½ inch long)
- ½ medium lemon (juiced)
- Cut up all ingredients so they fit in your juicer or blender.
- Blend well and strain pulp if desired (extra fiber).
- If you need it a bit sweeter, add some raw honey!
This ancient mushroom has been adored by Asian culture for two millennia!
A relative of the button mushroom, the Reishi is packed with triterpenes (antihistamine and anti-inflammatory) and polysaccharides (blood sugar and blood pressure stabilizers).
Alzheimer’s disease is often referred to as type 3 diabetes due to the inability of the brain to process glucose. Experts believe this is a result of inflammation.
When used with other powerhouse vitamins, Reishi boosts their overall effectiveness, making it an excellent choice for total body health!
These mushrooms are also a natural anti-viral and its anti-inflammatory properties have shown great promise in the treatment of migraines.
For thousands of years, maca has been grown in the mountains of Peru. A member of the cruciferous vegetable family (with broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage), the nutrients in maca root work on the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. The result is an overall boost in mental clarity, renewed energy, and ability to deal with stress.
Powdered maca root has also been shown to have an excellent effect on the production and regulation of hormones, thyroid function, and metabolic systems.
Walnuts are packed with tons of pro-brain compounds such as vitamin E, omega-3 essential fatty acids, folate, and melatonin.
The neuroprotection of brain foods like these nuts provide are incredible!
They improve blood flow to the brain, boost the delivery of oxygen and crucial nutrients, and even improve mood.
They’re packed with so many nutrients that while they boost memory and mental clarity, they’re also protecting your heart, helping you maintain a healthy weight, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, raising HDL (good) cholesterol, and easing inflammation.
Several studies have linked walnuts to lowering prostate and breast cancer risk by at least 30% and slowing down tumor growth by as much 50%! This brain food is multi-functional!
One of our favorite superfoods for a dozen important reasons, garlic is also magnificent for your brain.
As you age, the portions of your brain that deal with general cognition begin to shrink. Blood flow isn’t as efficient, free radicals cause damage at the cellular level, and inflammation leads to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Garlic is naturally anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antioxidant, and abundant in S-allyl cysteine – which protects your brain against age-related decline caused by a compound called beta amyloid peptide that destroys neurons and leads to a loss of cognition. Dozens of studies have also found that garlic boosts immunity and protects the heart.
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), sardines are the answer to a shot of brainpower when you need it most. These fatty acids improve communication in your brain because they get deep in the membrane of nerve cells and ramp up mental clarity.
They’re environmentally sustainable, readily available, and inexpensive. If you haven’t given sardines a chance, your brain will thank you if you try them today!
We’ve done many articles about the benefits of turmeric and the reason is a simple one: this ancient spice is absolutely incredible! Curcumin is the active ingredient in this distinctive spice native to Indian and Asian cuisine. It is so much more than curry!
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, naturally boosts the antioxidant ability of your own body, shows amazing benefits in the fight against cancer cells (by inhibiting their access to fresh blood supplies), lowers your risk of heart disease, and had similar effectiveness as the pharmaceutical drug Prozac in human trials for depression.
Curcumin is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and destroy the plaque that builds up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
It has also shown promise in boosting your production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth hormone that is necessary to cognition and the creation of new neurons. Patients diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases are often deficient in this hormone.
GRASS FED BUTTER
Yes, butter is brain food! Not only is organic, grass-fed butter far better for you than the cell destroying margarines and hydrogenated oils, it feeds your brain and central nervous system necessary cholesterol.
Your brain doesn’t just want cholesterol, it needs it! Your brain is more than 65% fat and the membranes that protect your neurons (myelin) have an even higher fat content and crave the oleic acid found in butter. These types of healing fats provide your neurons with what they need to stay healthy and sharp.
Another bonus (to taste and brain health) you get with butter is its conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content. Cows that are grass-fed have this compound in abundance. Not only has it been linked to protection against cancer, it assists your body in constructing muscle instead of storing energy as fat.
DARK CHOCOLATE (CACAO)
Delicious, luxurious, and good for you, too? Yes, please.
Yes, dark chocolate with a high cacao content is naturally anti-inflammatory.
It improves blood flow in the brain, boosts cognitive abilities such as learning and memory, and stimulated measurable improvement in elderly people diagnosed with dementia.
Dark chocolate’s resveratrol content has been linked to lower blood pressure, a reduced risk of stroke by as much as 27%, and improve mood.
Since there is less room for sugar in a high-cacao dark chocolate (we suggest 70% or higher), it is more filling without the side effects of milk or white chocolate. Research shows that dark chocolate more effectively satisfies cravings for sweet or salty foods and helps you feel fuller faster.
For a quick mental pick-me-up, the caffeine and theobromine in dark chocolate are the perfect brain food to clear the fog and help you focus during that extra-long afternoon meeting!
Seeing this in the “good for the brain” column made several coffee junkies here at DSL skip happily around the office. Coffee gets a bad rap and is often categorized as nothing more than a false caffeine high.
The truth about coffee is fascinating.
A study in Austria found that memory, reflex, and neuron signaling were drastically improved when participants were given two cups of coffee per day.
Researchers who followed a group of older men for more than a decade discovered that regular coffee drinkers experienced lower mental decline.
Women who drink coffee show less age-related cognitive decline and this brain-protective effect is cumulative, getting stronger as women get older. Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s risk are also lower in coffee drinkers!
Avoid too much sugar but don’t feel guilty about that delicious cup of coffee…your brain feels better already!
Eat Your Way to Better Mental Focus!
Enjoying the right brain-stimulating foods is the key to enjoying a long life of youthful cognition. The foods in our list are delicious, nutritious, and your brain is going to love them!
What’s your preferred “brain food” when you need to focus? Tell us on Facebook.