7 Fat Burning, Brain Boosting Super Foods we all need in our lives!
Avocado – This power fruit is full of healthy monounsaturated fats, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Don’t be put off by the words fat or fatty acids as these mighty cholesterol fighting nutrients increase blood flow to the brain and aid in absorption of antioxidants. Not only that, but avocados also lower blood pressure which has been noted to combat declining cognitive abilities. Additionally to all these impressive elements, avocados are high in vitamin E (helping to protect the brain from free radical damage) and are a good source of potassium and vitamin K (aiding in the protection of the brain from the risk of stroke).
Salmon – Deep-water fish, like salmon, is rich in DHA – an omega 3 fatty acid. A recent study found that eating Salmon (and seafood) can boost memory function by 15%. DHA, is one of the most highly concentrated fats in the brain and is already known to play a vital role in optimal brain structure and functioning. An important note here is to remember that the body cannot effectively make this fatty acid and therefore it must be consumed as part of your diet. Memory and working memory are amongst the most crucial functions of our brains for numerous everyday activities, such as: driving, shopping, working, studying, playing sports, etc. Additionally, salmon contains anti-inflammatory properties and is recommended for its ‘cleanliness’ and that fact that it in plentiful supply.
Almonds – Nuts are a super food, however there are better nuts than others out there. Take almonds for example, these power nuts are jam-packed full of Vitamin E – which is known to correspond with less cognitive decline as you age. Not only that, but almonds contain riboflavin which has been shown to increase brain activity resulting in a decreased occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, almonds offer an excellent source of protein as well as fibre making it a brilliant super food aiding in overall health and functioning of the nervous system.
Dark Chocolate (80%+ cocoa)– Chocolate is full of almighty flavanols that are known to improve blood vessel function, that in turns improves cognitive function and memory. The higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate you consume, the more of these powerful antioxidants and mood enhancing benefits you’ll get.
Olive Oil – This oil, as part of the Mediterranean diet, is a traditional fat that has been a dietary staple for one of the world’s healthiest of populations. Why is this? Well, Olive oil is crammed with valuable antioxidants and two of these are the anti-inflammatory olecanthal and oleuropein, which combine to make a substance that protects the good cholesterol from oxidation. Olecanthal in particular has been shown to replicate those effects similar to ibuprofen, a popular anti-inflammatory drug. Furthermore, the essential monounsaturated fats found in olive oil have been shown to have favourable effects on brain function and reduced risk of cognitive impairment; subsequently these fats have aided in clearing protein tangles called beta amyloid plaques from the brain resulting in decreasing a principle feature of Alzheimer’s disease.
Blueberries – The berries are overloaded with superior antioxidants that protect the brain from oxidative damage and stress that lead to premature aging, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, the flavanols present in this powerhouse fruit have been linked to improvements in learning, thinking and memory by increasing the communication between neurons. Additionally, they’re relatively low in fructose compared to other fruits, making them one of the healthier fruits available.
Spinach– Is one of the best food sources for magnesium. Whilst relaxing blood vessels which allow more blood flow to the brain, magnesium benefits brain cell receptors to speed the transmission of messages. Studies have shown that consuming leafy greens such as spinach may slow age-related decline in brain function. Besides this, spinach is crammed with the Vitamins: A, K, C, B2 and B6; and a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. It is full of flavonoids, that act as antioxidants by protecting the body against free radicals and overall an immense super food at fighting against cancer, lowering blood pressure and good for overall cardiovascular health.
Written by Hayley Madigan
Follow Hayley on Twitter @HayleyMadigan