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What to eat to boost brain health?

Brain health is important for all ages - from babies learning to talk, to young people studying for exams, right up to preventing memory decline as we get older.

What is the best food for the brain?

The brain is the control center for your body. It requires a large amount of energy and a variety of nutrients. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding too many processed foods is good for both your brain and general health.

This article highlights foods which contain important nutrients for brain functioning and memory.

1- Oily Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines

These fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which are important for building cell membranes in the brain and nerve cells. 

Studies have shown that eating oily fish can reduce the risk of cognitive decline

Omega-3 has been shown to help lower blood levels of beta-amyloid protein which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

2-Dark Green and Leafy Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale and cabbage

These vegetables are rich in many nutrients, including: 

Folate (vitamin B9) – essential for brain development and cellular metabolism. It also helps break down homocysteine, high levels of which are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Vitamin K – essential for sphingolipid metabolism which is important in brain structure and function.

Vitamins A, C and E – antioxidants which have been shown to help delay cognitive decline. Antioxidants protect the body against the build-up of free radicals. Free radicals play a role in the immune system, but if their level in the body becomes too high, this causes oxidative stress which can harm cells.

Dark green vegetables also contain Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a form of Omega-3.

3- Nuts and Seeds such as almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds

Studies have found benefits of regularly eating nuts for the brain and cognition. Nuts and seeds contain:

Healthy monounsaturated fatscan help reduce inflammation and lower bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Vitamin E and Folate (benefits previously discussed).

Walnuts also contain the ALA, the type of omega-3 fatty acids found in some plant foods.

4- Berries such as blueberries, strawberries and blackcurrants

Berries are loaded with antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, that can help support blood vessel walls and play a role in protecting the brain from oxidative stress, which may be useful in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and many other conditions.

Berries also contain a type of flavonoid, anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.  Flavonoids have been shown to help improve memory and cognitive function.

5- Eggs

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. 

They contain:

Vitamins B6, B12 and Folate (B9)play several roles in brain health, including producing the energy needed to develop new brain cells.

Choline – an important micronutrient that your body uses to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory.

Vitamin D – supports the immune system and brain and can help improve cognitive function.

6- Coffee, tea and dark chocolate

These contain caffeine which can boost alertness. Studies have shown that moderate caffeine intake may benefit mental function and memory.

Tea, coffee and chocolate also contain flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants – associated with improved cognitive function.

Should I take supplements for brain health?

Obtaining nutrients from food is generally preferable to taking supplements. There is no solid scientific evidence that supplements marketed for brain health work

However, if you are deficient in a particular nutrient which you are unable to get through your diet, or you have additional requirements such as during pregnancy, your doctor may recommend a supplement. 

If you have questions or concerns about your health, contact our team of Specialists at Neuro Spinal Hospital Dubai

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