Brains are the most complex part of the human body and account for everything we think, say, do, and feel!
To keep your brain in tip-top shape, it’s going to take more than a few brain teasers and sudoku. You have to pay attention to what you’re eating, too!
Most people think that having a healthy brain means they are more intelligent than most or are at least finding things to keep their mind occupied, but really, there’s so much more that goes into brain health! Our brains control everything that happens inside our body; something as simple as taking a sip of water can actually be broken down into a multitude of commands, all stemming from the brain. Your body sends signals to the brain that say, “hey, I think I’m a little low on water.” So, your brain, in turn, sends you the message, “I’m thirsty,” activating your salivary glands and signaling your arm, hand, fingers, and eyes to pinpoint the water next to you, bring it up to your face, and take a sip. In reality, it’s actually even more complicated than that, but that's a lesson for another day.
The point is, our brains do a lot of work for us each and every day to do even the simplest of tasks. Aside from regulating fine motor skills, our brains interpret everything we see, hear, and feel, and help us process the world around us at every moment. Every emotion and thought is conceived and understood by our brain, and that takes a lot of energy! How can you make sure your brain is getting everything it needs to function as best it can? By making sure you’re getting plenty of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to succeed! The main ingredient to look for when searching for brain-healthy foods is omega-3 fatty acid, which luckily comes in the form of supplements. If you’re not a fan of vitamins and supplements, there are plenty of delicious foods that have you covered! Here is a list of 9 brain superfoods to keep your brain as sharp as ever!
Image by Ramille Soares
Cold Water-Fatty Fish
Our brains are made up of a lot of things, but one major component is actually fat. In fact, researchers estimate that about 60% of our brain is made up of fat with 30% of it being made of omega-3 fatty acids. That’s quite a large portion of this essential organ, so eating foods rich in this nutrient is essential to healthy brain function.
Cold water and fatty fish like tuna, trout, and salmon are especially rich in fat and omega-3s, not to mention can be easily made into a variety of delicious dishes, making them a perfect brain superfood!
Image by Jasmin Egger
We’ve delved into the health benefits of egg yolks and egg whites before in our What Part of the Egg is Best? Blog and found that egg yolks have a ton of great nutrients! High in protein, vitamins, and minerals, egg yolks are also high in fat! But that’s not all eggs have to offer as a brain superfood. Eggs actually possess high concentrations of choline and tryptophan, which are essential for maintaining strong memory and communication abilities and serotonin production, respectively. That means that eggs help you feel happier and be able to remember the memories that made you happy for longer!
Image by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron
There are many benefits of eating grass fed meats when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, but not all of them are specific to brain function. Grass fed meat tends to have less overall fat than meats raised with other methods, but the grass-fed method produces meat with higher concentrations of omega-3s, making it ideal for brain health!
Image by Canvast Supply Co.
Hemp seeds are not new, but are definitely seeing a massive growth in popularity in recent years. Hemp seeds are praised for their numerous health properties and, though related to cannabis, don’t possess a large enough quantity of the THC compound that causes behavioral and psychoactive effects. Hemp seeds are incredibly versatile seeds that are often made into milk, oil, or can be eaten raw and are rich in omega-3s!
Image by Vita Marija Murenaite
You may have heard of spirulina, a saltwater blue-green algae often powdered and used in protein shakes that produce a vibrant blue color, but have you heard of chlorella? Similar to spirulina, chlorella is algae cultivated for its nutritional benefits. Chlorella is native to freshwater sources and is often converted into powder or supplements and produces a rich green color. What makes chlorella so useful in regulating brain health is that it is rich in an active form of B12, a vitamin that is significantly helpful for the brain’s memory retention and active recall functions!
Image by Sahand Babali
Most nuts have some value to the brain since many are high in fats, but walnuts are by far the most beneficial. Walnuts contain DHA which is a form of omega-3 that is specifically noted to “improve cognitive performance in adults” as well as promote more effective long-term cognitive stability.
Image by Adél Grőber
Berries come in a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors, making them a great option for people with all kinds of preferences! Scientists note that berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and more are extremely beneficial to the brain and maintaining strong cognitive functions. In fact, the levels of antioxidants found in berries account for their role in preventing degenerative issues and mental decline, so opt for some fresh berries every chance you can!
Image by Gil Ndjouwou
Avocados, one of the most well-known and highly praised superfoods out there. Not only are they absolutely delicious, but they can be prepared in so many unique ways that they never really get old! There are so many health properties associated with avocados, ranging from hearty-healthy effects to weight-loss! Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats that are great for brain health and help to reduce risk of degenerative decline!
Image by Tijana Drndarski
Coconut oil is packed with so many uses. Use it to cook with, add it to your body lotion for smooth skin, lather in your hair for an oil treatment, and use it to break down and remove makeup at the end of a long day (always use a cleanser after to prevent clogging facial pores)! Adding a little coconut oil to your diet can be useful for your brain by acting as a backup generator. In principle, some of the fats found in coconut oil can be broken down into ketones, a compound used by the brain as fuel. It’s not the main fuel source used by the brain, which is actually glucose, but having some readily available for your brain in case of emergency is a great way to prevent overworking your brain and exacerbating low-energy symptoms!
There are many ways to keep your brain in the best shape possible, but it’s time to start thinking outside the box and focusing on more than trivia and crosswords! Pay attention to the food you’re putting into your body and your body and brain will be sure to thank you for it!
We hope you enjoy this article for 9 Superfoods for a Healthy Brain. If you tried incorporating these things into your regular routine, make sure to let us know! For more recipes, follow us on social media and make sure to check out our weekly blog posts where we share our new favorite recipes and must-know facts about food and living a healthy lifestyle! Check out the other meal options Mealfit provides such as our Weekly Specials, Individual Meals, and other Meals by the Pound.