The Brain is the central processing unit of the body. Taking care of it is paramount to maintain great body health and optimal performance. Here are 4 great foods that help the brain perform at peak levels.
Blueberries are rated as one of the highest natural sources of antioxidants. After testing a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, the US Department of Agriculture determined that blueberries had the highest total antioxidant capacity per serving. In a nutshell an antioxidant restrains the process of oxidation of other molecules; which is a system of chemical reactions that can lead to the damaging of cells. Oxidation in the brain can lead to conditions such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Blueberries may reduce the effects of these age-related conditions by disrupting the flow of oxidation stress.
Roasted Pumpkin/Squash Seeds
Pumpkin and squash seeds have up to 1312 mgs of Tryptophan and are one of the highest plant based sources around. Tryptophan is an amino acid that causes production of serotonin which promotes happy feelings, while keeping negative moods such as anxiety and depression at bay. It also helps you to get a good night’s sleep. So basically if you want to help maintain a positive mood you can add pumpkin seeds to your diet. For those of you who don’t wish to consume pumpkin seeds by themselves, there’s always the option of adding them to milkshakes and using them in recipes such as homemade granola.
Acerola (Barbados, Bajan) Cherries
So we just talked about tryptophan and how it causes the production of serotonin. Which in turn makes you feel good/happy. However if we have very poor levels of Vitamin C, we could increase our tryptophan levels from now until the cows come home and it would not be converted into serotonin. Vitamin C is essential for the conversion of this and other substances into neurotransmitters that help with brain function. Citizens of the country Barbados would be very surprised to know that one of the highest sources of Vitamin C can be found in the “Bajan cherries” of their island. In a study that involved two instances in 1971 and 1993 to test memory levels over a period of years. Higher scores of the tests were associated with higher levels of Vitamin C in the blood of the 442 men and women who were tested.
Omega-3 Fats are heavily situated in the brain and have been linked to memory enhancement and increased cognitive performance. Some symptoms of Omega-3 deficiency include, fatigue, poor memory, depression and mood swings. There are 6388 mgs of Omega-3 in just 28 grams of flaxseed while a whopping 178 grams of Atlantic salmon contain less Omega-3 at 4023 mgs. Fish might be a great tasty source of Omega-3 fat but research has shown that fish can often be contaminated by harmful toxins such as pesticides and mercury. A study of Clear Lake, California showed that while the water and phytoplankton living in the water showed low levels of a pesticide called DDD, the herbivorous fish who ate the phytoplankton and the carnivorous fish who ate the herbivorous fish had respectively increased levels of DDD. To decrease your toxin intake get your omega-3 fats from plant based sources.