We all know that our smartphones and daily screen habits are having an affect on our brains, from our ability to concentrate to our eye health itself. Many health experts warn us to make sure we’re spending time away from our phones to recalibrate our eyes and minds. Our daily commutes, endless to-do lists, and busy daily lives can make our brains feel like they’re on overdrive all the time. It’s easy to feel like your brain isn’t working as well as it used to.
But what if the food you eat every day could help make you… smarter?
Much like getting enough sleep and exercising regularly, the foods you eat can have a powerful impact on your cognitive functions. From helping you focus to maintaining memory, here are a few foods to make sure you’re including in your diet to help your brain operate at its maximum potential.
It’s no secret that switching from a diet of mostly red meat or chicken to one based primarily in fish can do wonders for your health, but fish is especially good for brain health. Fatty fishes in particular, like salmon and trout, are packed with omega-3 acids. Omega-3 acids help your brain build and repair cells, and therefore can be crucial in focus and memory.
A diet high in omega-3 acids has been shown to potentially ward off illnesses like Alzheimer’s and depression.
There’s a reason your mom always nagged you to eat your broccoli! Packed with antioxidants and vitamin K, broccoli is very important in your brain’s long-term health. Vitamin K in is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your brain form sphingolipids, a type of fat your brain is densely filled with.
Diets high in vitamin K have been linked to better memory and retention skills.
It’s trending for a reason! Turmeric is so great for your cognitive function because of its strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Anytime you can decrease inflammation, you’ll see positive benefits for your brain. Turmeric can ease the symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses, stave off Alzheimer’s, and help your brain regenerate and build new cells.
While nuts are primarily thought of as a food that’s heart healthy, they’re extremely brain healthy too! Anytime you can aid your heart, you’re aiding your entire body–including your brain. Nuts have been shown to improve concentration, cognition, and even help prevent some neuro-degenerative diseases. This is in part due to the healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E prevalent in nuts.
Walnuts, especially, are a great choice as they’re packed with omega-3 acids.
This one seems like a no-brainer (ha!), but even the slightest dehydration can often lead to a decline in cognitive function before you’re aware of it. When you think about it, your brain (like your body) is mostly water. Therefore it makes sense that your brain needs a lot of water to function properly. Drinking enough water each day can improve cognition, help balance your moods, maintain memories, reduce stress, and increase blood-flow and oxygen to your brain.
In addition to drinking plenty of water each day, pack your diet with water-packed foods like fruits and veggies.