By Patricia Aceng
The brain is a complex organ that controls thoughts processes, memory, emotions, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger, and every other process that regulates our body.
It controls most of the activities of the body; processing, integrating, and coordinating information it receives from the sense organs, and making decisions.
In simple terms, the brain does the thinking, learning, and feeling for the body. It is a source of consciousness for humans.
It also controls the basic automatic body actions like breathing, digestion, heartbeat among others. The brain is one of the most vital organs in a human body, hence the need to take good care of it.
These reduce functions
– Missing sleep
– Too much consumption of junky foods like deep fried foods, snacks, etc
– Physical inactivity
– Blasting your head phones
– Over eating
– Having too much time alone
– Over staying in dark places
Brain boosting foods
The foods we eat can have a big impact on the structure and the health of our brains. Eating a brain-boosting diet can support both short and long-term brain functions.
The brain is an energy-intensive organ that uses about 20 per cent of the body’s calories. Hence, it needs plenty of fuel to maintain concentration throughout the day.
It also requires certain nutrients to stay healthy. These include omega-3 fatty acids which help to build and repair brain cells, antioxidants which help to reduce cellular stress and inflammations linked to brain ageing, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment).
Keep your brain healthy and sharp with these nutritious brain-boosting foods.
- Oily fish
Oily fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They help to build membranes around each cell in the body, including brain cells called neurons.
Oily fish is, therefore, a protein source linked to a great brain boost.
Most berries contain flavonoid antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
The antioxidant compounds in berries have many positive effects on the brain. They include improving communication between brain cells, reducing inflammation throughout the body, increasing plasticity, which helps brain cells form new connections hence boosting learning and memory.
They also delay age-related neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline.
Cognitive is the mental action of acquiring and processing information.
Antioxidant rich berries include; strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.
- Fruits like avocado
Avocado is a source of healthful unsaturated fat, which supports the brain.
Eating monounsaturated fats reduces blood pressure, which is linked to cognitive decline.
Unsaturated fats in avocado may prevent the risk of cognitive decline.
Other sources of healthy unsaturated fats include peanuts, soybean, sunflower and fish.
- Dark chocolate
Dark chocolates containing cocoa is rich in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant.
Cocoa flavonoids encourage neuron and blood vessel growth in the parts of the brain involved in memory and learning.
- Nuts and seeds
Eating more nuts and seeds may be good for the brain as it contains omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Nuts and seeds are also rich sources of antioxidant vitamin E, which protects cells from oxidative stress, caused by free radicals.
They also contribute to improving cognition and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Nuts and seeds with the highest amounts of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts.
- Whole grains
Eating whole grain is another way to benefit from the effects of vitamin E.
Whole-grain foods include brown rice, barley, bulgur wheat, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta.
Coffee is a well-known concentration aid that many drink to stay awake and encourage focus.
Caffeine in coffee blocks a substance in the brain called adenosine, which makes a person feel sleepy.
Beyond boosting alertness, caffeine also increases the brain capacity for processing information.
Enjoyed by many, eggs can be an effective brain food. They are good sources of vitamins that prevent brain shrinkage and delay cognitive decline like Vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folic acid.
Other brain boosting foods are: soy products, green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, tomatoes, milk, peanuts, etc.
Other lifestyles to adopt that will help boost your brain include:
– Having adequate sleep
– Playing games
– Telling good stories
– Turning off your television
– Exercising your body to exercise your brain
– Reading something different from the usual reads
– Learning new skills
– Making simple changes especially in your routines
– Having leisure time with your loved ones, and
– Changing location to new and good environments like paying visits to friends and loved ones, trips, and tours.