The brain is the powerhouse of the body and it is for this reason that it needs to be kept in tip top shape. What we eat plays a major role in helping boost brainpower. Feeding the brain with the right food can help its cognitive function, retain attention better, improved decision making, mood, and quicker mental response.
Superfoods for the Brain
A well-balanced diet, along with these superfoods, should make a positive impact on the brain’s overall functioning
Packed with Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), fish such as salmon, mackerel, cod liver, and herring are said to be good for the brain because of their high levels of Omega-3. Our bodies don’t naturally produce EFA, essential in keeping our brains and heart healthy, which is why it needs to be included in our diet. While the studies still remain inconclusive, there seems to be evidence to suggest that Omega-3 may also help with depression.
Not a fan of eating fish? Opt instead to include cod liver oil into your diet.
Brain Octane Oil
Not all kinds of fat is harmful to the body. Taken in moderation, there are those that possess health benefits. Our Brain Octane Oil from Bulletproof is made of a combination of coconut and palm kernel oils. These two have a certain type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
MCTs possess shorter chains, making it easier for the body to break down. MCTs usually go straight to the liver where it is converted to ketones, a source of energy that can cross the blood into the brain, making it a brainfood.
The body can efficiently use ketones as energy and it is for this reason that the chances of storing it as fat is less likely to happen.
B vitamins are brain vitamins and have specific roles in helping the brain function better.
Vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid are said to decrease homocysteine levels in the blood. High homocysteine levels are said to contribute to the development of certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. There is also an increased risk of cognitive impairment and stroke when one has elevated levels of homocysteine. B vitamins B1 and B3 also have roles to play in brain function.
Rosemary and Mint
These herbs are not only fragrant and give any dish a mild kick of flavour, but they are also responsible for increasing blood flow to the brain, making it easier to concentrate on tasks.
Cacao Nibs and Dark Chocolate
Do you have a sweet tooth like most people? Good news - nibbling on a bit of chocolate can help your brain, provided it is at least 70% dark chocolate though!
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, a compound that helps improve blood flow to the brain. More blood to the brain means retention of memory is better and we get to concentrate longer on tasks. Dark chocolate also contains caffeine, which can be beneficial for moments when we need to be alert and sharp.
Cacao nibs are your healthier alternative and can be added to your favourite drinks. These nibs come from the cacao plant, the same plant that produces cacao beans used for chocolate. The nibs are rich in antioxidants and may help the body get rid of free radicals responsible for life-threatening diseases.
Elderberry powder (Sambucus nigra) is well known for its immune supporting benefits, flavonoids, antioxidants, anti inflammatories, bioflavonoids, anthocyanins, shikimic acid, chlorogenic acids, minerals and vitamins. The boost of energy it provides is the perfect pick me up, an effect that even the Ancient Greeks were aware of.
Our very own freeze dried elderberry powder was cultivated in Chile. Because it is freeze dried, you can be sure that its maximum potency is still very much intact.
For when you’re not exactly hungry but you need a bit of a boost, reach for a green tea instead. Green tea is packed with polyphenols which are micro chemical nutrients that contain very powerful antioxidants and is thought to be one of the healthiest beverages on earth.
The antioxidants contained in green tea are known as catechins and are believed to not only improve brain power and function, but also help in the prevention of cell damage. What makes green tea different to other tea is that though it is made from the same leaves as black tea, it is processed by steaming the freshly picked leaves, and not allowing them time to oxidise.
Even better, green teas can come in many different variations, like a chai green tea, which can be very refreshing all year round, not just in those colder months.
One of our favourites is this premium grade green tea chai blend.
Though not strictly a (super)food, water is the gift from mother nature that keeps on giving, so we thought we would include it as a bonus. Our entire body and it’s systems depend on water to function properly - making it vital for our survival. In fact, in many instances when we’re feeling hungry, or a bit sluggish, we’re quite possibly a little dehydrated. Dehydration can make us feel sleepy and tired, and a little bit irritable, so the next time you find yourself feeling a bit tired in the afternoon, try pouring yourself a glass.
Foods to avoid
If you are looking for a bit of pick me up, or to get the brain working at it’s best then there are definitely a few things that, as tempting as they may be, should be avoided. Here’s a few things that will slow you down and make you want to visit sleepy town.
- Highly processed foods – foods such as white bread, biscuits and
- Processed foods with toxic fats – foods that are high in highly processed vegetable oils should be avoided at all costs. Margarine and other partially hydrogenated oils are especially bad
- Sugary Foods – sure they taste great, but the high will not last long. Avoid candy, lollies and cookies, and if you are craving something sweet, reach for the cacao nibs.
Adding Superfoods to your diet
It is easier than you think to add superfoods to your diets thanks to the different forms they are now available in. At Superfoods Australia, we stock a number of different superfoods, from powdered extracts to freeze dried berries, and everything in between, like teas and tinctures. Check out our huge range available to purchase online here.