The human brain contains billions of neurons, and trillions of synapses, and works at speeds of over 480 kilometres per hour!
Your brain does a ton of work for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Shouldn’t you do whatever you can to support it and ensure it functions as efficiently as possible?
One of the best ways to care for your brain is to eat a healthy diet. This guide breaks down some of the most beneficial foods and supplements for brain health.
Why Does Brain Health Matter?
It’s easy to take it for granted, but your brain is a powerful and complex organ.
When your brain is functioning properly, several aspects of your health and well-being improve, including the following:
- Better memory
- Increased creativity
- Improved problem-solving
- Improved emotional regulation
Whether you’re striving to be a high-performing executive or want to avoid brain fog while you’re taking care of your kids, you need to start making brain health a priority.
Food for Brain Health
When it comes to eating for brain health, certain foods pack more of a punch than others. The following are 4 essential foods to add to your diet for a healthy, high-performing brain:
Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are loaded with brain health vitamins, including:
- Vitamin K: Plays a role in brain cell development and survival
- Lutein: An antioxidant that prevents free radical damage to the brain cells
- Folate: Helps the brain produce essential neurotransmitters and improves cognitive health in ageing individuals
- Beta carotene: Reduces oxidative stress in the amygdala and hippocampus
Fatty fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids — a type of healthy unsaturated fat.
Increasing consumption of omega-3s is associated with lower levels of beta-amyloid in the blood. This is the protein that forms clumps in the brains and affects people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and other types of berries get their bright colouring from natural pigments called flavonoids. Increased flavonoid consumption has been linked to improvements in memory.
Berries also contain other antioxidants that reduce inflammation and protect your brain from oxidative stress.
Walnuts don’t just look like brains — they also keep your brain healthy. They contain protein and healthy fats, including a type of omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid or ALA.
As we mentioned earlier, omega-3 fatty acid consumption may reduce plaque buildup in the brain. They can also lower blood pressure and keep the arteries clear.
Supplements for Brain Health
In addition to eating a nutritious, whole foods-based diet, you can also support your brain by adding certain supplements to your routine. Here are 4 of the best supplements to try:
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Some studies have shown that adaptogenic mushrooms like Lion’s Mane (scientific name Hericium Erinaceus) can improve memory and brain health.
Adaptogens are plants that help the body respond better to physical and psychological stress. They can also make it easier for you to bounce back quickly from difficult situations.
One study showed that Lion’s Mane mushrooms produced anti-dementia activity and reduced mild cognitive impairments. Another showed that Lion’s Mane could reduce plaque build-up, which suggests that it could be beneficial when it comes to preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Don’t like fish? You can still experience the brain health-boosting benefits of omega-3 fatty acids by adding fish oil supplements to your routine.
Fish oil supplements provide a hefty dose of omega-3s to reduce inflammation and keep your brain functioning optimally.
Resveratrol falls under an umbrella of plant compounds known as polyphenols.
Polyphenols act similarly to antioxidants. They protect against cellular damage, including cellular damage that affects brain health and increases your risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Resveratrol is most abundant in the skin of red grapes. It’s also found in red wine, berries, and peanuts, or you can take it in supplement form.
Rhodiola Rosea is a herb that grows in the mountains of Asia and Europe. Like Lion’s Mane mushrooms, it’s an adaptogen that has long been used to manage stress and reduce fatigue.
Rhodiola Rosea is also good for the brain. It has been shown to improve one’s ability to learn and process new information. It may improve memory formation as well.
Other Factors That Affect Brain Health
In addition to diet, several other factors can contribute to your brain health, including these:
- Stress: Chronic stress can cause certain areas of the brain — including those linked to emotional control, memory, and metabolism — to shrink.
- Sleep: Good sleep is necessary for memory formation. While you sleep, the brain also carries out several important cleaning processes, including the removal of beta-amyloid proteins, which are associated with dementia.
- Activity Level: Regular physical activity encourages blood flow to the brain and helps you think clearly. It increases the size of the hippocampus, too, which is responsible for memory formation.
- Socialisation: Your social life contributes to brain health as well. It improves memory and cognition and can also reduce your risk of developing dementia.
You could eat the healthiest, most nutrient-dense diet in the world. However, if you’re not also taking care of yourself by sleeping well, exercising, and managing stress, you won’t be setting your brain up for optimal health.
Boost Your Brain and Body Health Today
By making a few improvements to your diet and supplement regimen, you can see significant improvements in your brain health and performance.
From eating more leafy greens and fatty fish to incorporating adaptogenic mushrooms and antioxidants into your routine, simple changes can go a long way and produce big results.
Want to give mushrooms for brain health a try? Check out Beams Co. today.
Through our online store, you can shop for Lion’s Mane mushroom coffee and other beneficial body and brain health supplements.