thrive360 | Nine Nutrients to Boost Your Brain Power
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Nine Nutrients to Boost Your Brain Power

 by Zannat Reza

Which foods can boost your brain power? Researchers have shown that the Mediterranean-based MINDful diet is best for your brain. The key nutrients are:

 

1) Plant polyphenols: These natural substances act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation (e.g. fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices).

2) Vitamin E: This crucial vitamin acts as an antioxidant (e.g. nuts, seeds, oils, seeds, flaxseed).

3) Omega-3 fats: These essential fats reduce brain inflammation (e.g. salmon, sardines, herring, trout, soybeans (edamame), canola oil, omega-3 eggs).

4) Monounsaturated fats: These plant-based fats promote healthy blood flow. High cholesterol & high blood pressure leads your brain losing its sharpness (e.g. avocadoes, olives, olive and canola oils, nuts).

5) Fibre: Fibre keeps your blood sugar levels in check (e.g. lentils, beans, chickpeas, whole grains).

6) Folate: Fosters better brain cell communication (e.g. dark green veg, chickpeas, beans & lentils).

7) Vitamin B12: In addition to brain cell communication, B12 also maintains the myelin sheath coat that covers our nerve cells . Both B12 and folate can lower your risk of dementia, but more research is needed (e.g. only in animal foods dairy, meat, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs (nutritional yeast for vegetarians)).

8) Lutein: Lutein builds up in the brain and becomes part of the brain cell membranes (e.g. egg yolk, leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli , cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts).

9) Luteolin: Luteolin has been shown to have protective powers for the brain. It’s found in several plant foods (e.g. broccoli, pepper, thyme, and celery).

 

Here’s how the MINDful way of eating benefits your brain:

  • Healthy blood vessels so that more oxygen and nutrients are delivered.
  • Feeds parts of your brain needed for learning and memory.
  • Protects your brain from inflammation.
  • Encourages new brain cells to grow and form connections.
  • Boosts BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which is important for the growth and health of nerve cells. BDNF is also found in the areas of the brain responsible for higher thinking and learning. Being physically active also boosts BDNF levels in the body.

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