Brain Fitness Foods: Top Ten Edibles for The Brain

By way of the “Shape” top eleven we have the 10 best foods for the brain (we left out Yerba Mate tea since it’s a drink…):

Brain Fitness Food #1: Beets

Scientists at Wake Forest University found that natural nitrates in beets can increase blood flow to the brain, thereby improving mental performance.

Brain Fitness Food #2: Sage

Sage contains compounds that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. A study published in Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior showed that young adults who took sage-oil extract (50 micro liters) before cognitive tests performed better than those given a placebo.

Brain Fitness Food #3: Beef

As published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition women with healthy iron levels performed better on mental tasks and completed them faster than those with poor iron status. Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body and to the brain.

Brain Fitness Food #4: Sardines

Rich with EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids sardines facilitate communication among brain cells and help regulate neurotransmitters responsible for mental focus.

Brain Fitness Food #5: Egg Yolks

Egg yolks are a key source of choline which the body uses to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory formation. Eating protein-rich foods like eggs for breakfast can improve overall cognitive performance, according to Swiss researchers.

Brain Fitness Food #6: Oats

Since our bodies break down the carbohydrates in whole-grain oats very slowly, oats help keep glucose levels high for several hours rather than providing a rush and crash like more readily available carbs found in refined sugars, potatoes and wheat.

Brain Fitness Food #7: Lentils

Lentils are rich in folate, a B vitamin shown to help boost brain power. Folate also plays a role in decreasing levels of amino acids that can impair brain functioning.

Brain Fitness Food #8: Ground Flaxseed

Flax is the best source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—a healthy fat that improves the workings of the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain that processes sensory information like touch and taste.

Brain Fitness Food #9: Walnuts

Scientists at Tufts University in Boston found that a diet rich in walnuts may improve mental performance. Walnuts have high levels of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

Brain Fitness Food #10: Spinach and Other Vegetables

Harvard Medical School researchers found that women who ate the most vegetables—especially green leafy vegetables (spinach and romaine lettuce) and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower)—experienced a slower rate of cognitive decline than women who ate the fewer vegetables.

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