Lots of us are faced with a common dilemma as to how they can eat the right foods so their brain function remains at maximum. With the stress and tension we undergo in our daily lives, it becomes all the more vital that we eat properly.
What does the food you eat have to do with how your brain functions?
While we have always known that what we eat affects our bodies and how we look, scientists are also learning and discovering more as to how food takes a toll on our brains. Our bodies don’t like to be stressed – when you are feeling mental or physical stress, they release inflammatory cytokines. These little chemicals prompt the immune system to kick in and fight back against the stress through inflammation, as though stress is an infection. While inflammation helps protect us against illnesses and repairs the body when you do something like cut yourself, chronic inflammation is different. It has been linked to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, anxiety, high blood pressure and more.
But what does this all have to do with food? Our gut helps keep our body’s immune responses and inflammation under control. Additionally, gut hormones that enter the brain or are produced there influence cognitive ability, like understanding and processing new information, staying focused on the task at hand and recognizing when we are full. Brain foods rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins and minerals provide energy and aid in protecting against brain diseases. So when we focus on giving our body whole, nutritious foods for the gut and brain, we are actually benefiting our minds and bodies while keeping them both in good condition.
What foods are good for focus and concentration?
This fruit is one of the healthiest ones you can consume. While avocados often get a bad rep because of their high fat content, it is important to note that these green powerhouses are packed with monosaturated fats or the “good” kind, keeping blood sugar levels steady and your skin glowing. Containing both vitamin K and folate, avocados help prevent blood clots in the brain (protecting against stroke) as well as help improve cognitive function, especially both memory and concentration. They’re also rich in vitamin B and vitamin C, which aren’t stored in your body and need to be replenished daily. Plus, they have the highest protein and lowest sugar content of any fruit. Avocados’ creamy texture makes them a smart addition to smoothies and a replacement for fats in baked goods.
It turns out that Popeye was onto something with his spinach obsession. Getting regular helpings of leafy green brain foods — like kale, Swiss chard and romaine lettuce — can help keep dementia at bay according to new research. In the study, which evaluated the eating habits and mental ability of more than 950 older adults for an average of five years, those adults who ate a serving of leafy green veggies once or twice a day experienced slower mental deterioration than those who ate no vegetables, even when factors like age, education and family history of dementia were factored in.
Green, leafy vegetables are also loaded with vitamins A and K (just one cup of kale has more than 684 percent of your recommended daily serving!), which help fight inflammation and keep bones strong.
If you like seafood, get excited, because salmon is one of the most nutritious, brain food-friendly foods out there! It is packed with omega-3 fatty acids to help keep your brain running smoothly and improve memory. If you have kids, feeding them salmon can greatly improve their focus. And these same fatty acids can also help prevent cancer and kill tumors — not bad for a four-ounce serving of fish! Make sure you stick to wild-caught salmon only!
It might be their funny shape or memories of bad recipes eaten during childhood, but beets seem to be an intimidating food for many people, even vegetable lovers. That is a shame, because these root vegetables are some of the most nutritious plants you can eat. They reduce inflammation, are high in cancer-protecting antioxidants and help rid your blood of toxins. The natural nitrates in beets actually boost blood flow to the brain, helping with mental performance. Plus, during tough workouts, beets actually help boost energy and performance levels.
It turns out that eating walnuts can keep your mind sound and in focus. Just munching on a few walnuts a day can improve your cognitive health. Their high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals also improve mental alertness. The vitamin E in the nuts can also help ward off Alzheimer’s.
Include these brain foods as a part of your daily diet and you will see the difference in your memory and concentration skills very soon.
5 Best foods for focus and concentration