How wonderful would it be if we had some magic pill that could improve our memory and concentration? We would take it a day before the exam and crack that exam we all dread of. Well, in reality, it might not happen in an instant, but the brain cognitive function can be improved by following a healthy diet. The diet is full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Nutritionists suggest to incorporate few foods in the diet to not just improve memory and focus but to delay the cognitive decline in older individuals.
It is often advised to never skip breakfast as it helps in improving short-term memory and attention. Studies have shown that students who ate breakfast performed better than those who did not eat it. A breakfast with high fiber, whole grains, dairy, and fruits will keep you alert and focused. Omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants should be added to your diet if you want to improve your brain functions. You will learn about all the foods you need to include in your diet plan in a flash.
Green and leafy vegetables
They are rich in antioxidants like Vitamin K, folate, and beta-carotene that protect the brain from free radicals. Kale, spinach, and broccoli are full of these antioxidants. Research has also shown that they are associated with a delay in cognitive decline and slow progression of various neurodegenerative diseases.
Berries contain flavonoids, a natural plant pigment. It has rich antioxidant properties which help in improving memory. A study published in Annals of Neurology in 2012 was conducted at Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It showed delayed memory decline in women who took two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries in a week.
Fatty fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are the major building block of the brain. It is an antioxidant that protects the brain from free radicals. It also helps in decreasing beta-amyloid, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Eat salmon, Pollack, and other fatty fishes twice a week to decrease the risk of stroke and dementia, slow down the decline in mental functions, and to improve memory. It is also suggested that a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids can cause learning difficulties and depression. If you are a vegan and cannot have fish ask your physician for supplements or consume alternate sources like flax seeds, avocado, and walnuts.
Turmeric has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, the key ingredient of turmeric, crosses the blood-brain barrier. It also helps in improving memory, mood, and delay the neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s patients. However, more research is needed to prove it.
Nuts are a rich source of protein, healthy fat, and vitamin E that are essential to improve memory. Walnuts also have high alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acids that decreases blood pressure levels and protects blood vessels. A 2015 UCLA study showed a higher walnut consumption is associated with increased performance in cognitive tests. Walnut protects both the heart and brain.
Coffee and Tea
They ramp up your alertness due to the blockage of adenosine actions in the brain. Well, adenosine regulates the sleep cycle. It provides instant energy, improves short-term memory, and helps in concentration. In addition to this, caffeine is a powerful antioxidant that protects the brain from damage. A 2014 study showed that participants who consumed coffee regularly scored higher on mental function tests. Another study conducted at the Johns Hopkins University showed that participants who consumed caffeine tablets correctly identified images shown previously to them than those who took a placebo. So, coffee helps in solidifying memory. But caffeine in large amounts can culminate in multiple side effects, so its consumption should be limited.
There are lots of other foods that help in improving brain functions. The above-listed ones are a few important food items to add to the diet. Follow a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and get adequate sleep. Plus, don’t forget to reduce stress, do exercise, and avoid smoking and alcohol for the brain to improve its functions. When you stick to this plan, you will certainly see a massive improvement in your day-to-day activities – thanks to the enhanced brain functions.