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Best Foods to Boost Your Brain, Memory and Cognition

Food can directly affect everything in our bodies from our mood and energy levels to our memory. “Brain fog” is a common term used to describe people who experience symptoms of confusion, forgetfulness, lack of focus and mental clarity. Paying more attention to the foods you are eating instead of just being consumed with cutting calories or eating less can help clear the body of toxins that are affecting your brain negatively and clear the mind of its brain fog. Focus on filling your gut with nutrient-dense, whole foods to help your brain thrive. Your leaner looking frame will just be the icing on the cake. Here are best foods to boost your brain, memory and cognition.

Whole grains- Best brain foods

Whole grains -Best Foods to Boost Your Brain, Memory and Cognition
Whole grains -Best Foods to Boost Your Brain, Memory and Cognition

Daily servings to aim for: at least 3
One serving equals: 1 ⁄2 cup cooked whole grain, 100% whole grain pasta, or 100% whole grain hot cereal; 1 slice 100% whole grain bread; 1 cup 100% whole grain ready-to-eat cereal
Dr. Bredesen suggests trying to avoid simple carbohydrates (like white rice or pasta). “They are associated with metabolic syndrome, which in turn increases risk for Alzheimer’s disease,” he says.

Coffee

Coffee - Best Foods to Boost Your Brain, Memory and Cognition
Coffee – Best Foods to Boost Your Brain, Memory and Cognition

If coffee is the highlight of your morning, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s good for you.

Two main components in coffee — caffeine and antioxidants — help your brain.

The caffeine in coffee has a number of positive effects on the brain, including:

  • Increased alertness: Caffeine keeps your brain alert by blocking adenosine, a chemical messenger that makes you sleepy.
  • Improved mood: Caffeine may also boost some of your “feel-good” neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.
  • Sharpened concentration: One study found that when participants drank one large coffee in the morning or smaller amounts throughout the day, they were more effective at tasks that required concentration.

Drinking coffee over the long term is also linked to a reduced risk of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

This could at least be partly due to coffee’s high concentration of antioxidants.

Pumpkin Seeds- Best brain foods

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Pumpkin seeds contain powerful antioxidants that protect the body and brain from free radical damage.

They’re also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc and copper.

Each of these nutrients is important for brain health:

  • Zinc: This element is crucial for nerve signaling. Zinc deficiency has been linked to many neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is essential for learning and memory. Low magnesium levels are linked to many neurological diseases, including migraines, depression and epilepsy.
  • Copper: Your brain uses copper to help control nerve signals. And when copper levels are out of whack, there’s a higher risk of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Iron: Iron deficiency is often characterized by brain fog and impaired brain function.

The research focuses mostly on these micronutrients, rather than pumpkin seeds themselves. However, since pumpkin seeds are high in these micronutrients, you can likely reap their benefits by adding pumpkin seeds to your diet.

Olive oil

Week by week servings to aim for: The MIND diet doesn’t set an amount for olive oil; simply use it instead of different oils and margarine, and go overboard on the extra-virgin assortment.

Olive oil is wealthy in healthy monounsaturated fat. “A low-carbohydrate diet that’s high in good fats (such as polyunsaturates and monounsaturates) promotes ketosis, which supports brain function,” says Dr. Bredesen.

Avocados

This fruit is one of the healthiest ones you can consume and one of my all-time favorites. While avocados often get a bad rep because of their high fat content, it’s 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. Not too shabby!

Celery

Celery - Best Foods to Boost Your Brain, Memory and Cognition
Celery – Best Foods to Boost Your Brain, Memory and Cognition

For a vegetable with such few calories (just 16 per cup!), celery sure does offer a lot of benefits. Its high levels of antioxidants and polysaccharides act as natural anti-inflammatories and can help alleviate symptoms related to inflammation, like joint pain and irritable bowel syndrome.

Because it’s so nutrient-dense — packing loads of vitamins, minerals and nutrients with very little calories — it’s a great snack option if you’re looking to shed pounds. And while we often eat celery stalks, don’t skip the seeds and leaves; both provide extra health benefits and taste great in things like stir fries and soups. Not sure where to begin with eating more celery? Try my easy ants on a log or refreshing super hydrator juice recipes.

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