8 Brain Boosting Superfoods

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(Photo: iStock) 

When it comes to our diets, a lot of us are more concerned about waistlines than healthy brain function. However, researchers are discovering certain foods that boost brain function and improve memory, just as others prevent high blood pressure or heart disease, .

Every day we choose certain foods for our diet to boost our immunity, help us stay fuller longer, or even fight seasonal depression. Now we know we can choose from a wide assortment of superfoods packed with nutrients and vitamins that aid in cognitive function. While you may not gain telekinetic superpowers, a diet rich in superfoods can defend against a variety of brain-related conditions.

Sardines

They might smell horrible, but oily fish like sardines are effective brain boosters thanks to supercharged omega-3 fatty acids,EPA andDHA. Thissuperfood strengthens brain cell communication and regulates the neurotransmitters responsible for mental focus. In addition to lowering the risk of dementia, the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation claims fish like sardines reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Beets

With nitrates that increase blood flow to the brain, scientists have hailed beets a superfood for years. By opening up blood vessels and improving cognitive health, beets are largely responsible for sharpening the mind and increasing energy. The pigment found in beets can even treat certain types of depression, while the tryptophan in this red veggie gives your body an effect similar to chocolate as it relaxes the mind.

Leafy Greens

Greens such as spinach, dandelion greens, Swiss chard and kale are full of free-radical antioxidants like lutein that prevent cell damage and cognitive decline. Brimming with vitamin E, these greens also help protect our noggins from developing white matter lesions that are responsible for stroke and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers at Harvard Medical claim these iron rich-greens aid in memory and focus, which would hold especially true for the 10% of women who are anemic. 

Maca

Touted as the “Peruvian ginseng,” maca’s energy-enhancing properties are proven to cure anxiety, mood swings and depression. With a slightly nutty and earthy flavor, maca provides mental energy for those days we just can’t seem to function right. Conventionally used to reduce stress, maca increases focus and has a stimulating effect on the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, which help regulate other glands in our body.

Pumpkin Seeds

Besides being a mighty immune booster and heart-friendly snack, pumpkin seeds are the leading brainpower superfood — sorry, blueberries! Containing high amounts of magnesium, pumpkin seeds create a calming effect on the brain for that extra Zen. Researchers at Duke University and MIT discovered its zinc properties actually play a critical role in regulating communication in the brain, while sharpening memory.

Mint

Mint is an age-old remedy for several ailments, and it also has profound effect on cognitive functions. From either smelling or ingesting, mint’s benefits include problem solving, judgment, focus, visual-motor response and memory. And as mint is a popular flavor in the gum world, researchers at Cardiff University discovered gum chewing significantly increases alertness. 

Lentils

With the ability to provide a steady stream of glucose to the brain and power up your cells, lentils are a key source of fiber that help brains stay in optimal shape. Packed with folate, a B vitamin that helps boost brainpower, lentils can reduce dementia and help fight Alzheimer’s. As a part of the “Grain Brain” diet, it’s no brainer this superfood needs to be on your weekly menu.

Bee Pollen

Thanks to this life-giving dust’s high amino acid content, pollen has the ability to stimulate memory and concentration. With proven results of increased attention and energy, adding pollen to your smoothie or ingesting in pill form reaps a diverse range of mental benefits. Diminishing negative effects of stress and anger, pollen also reduces anxiety, insomnia, headaches, irritability and depressive tendencies. It’s a superfood fit for a Queen!