There are many different foods that have been shown to promote cognition, memory, mood and help heal and prevent neurological disorders such as concussions, strokes, Alzheimers, dementia and Parkinsons.
Whether you are recovering from a brain injury, or would just like to boost your cognition – this article is for you!
The full list of brain foods would be rather extensive, but for time’s sake – it has been narrowed down to top 5.
Of course, if you’d like to learn more about how to use brain foods for healing (brain injuries/concussions) or for specific symptoms (cognition, memory, mood) reach out so we can connect you to the right people.
1. Fish Products
A study of trauma patients underwent supplementation with both EPA and DHA. DHA blood levels did not affect quality of life (QOL) in those individuals, however higher EPA levels were correlated with better QOL and also improved mental health.
Fish products contain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, and are incorporated into our bodies cells, leading to an anti-inflammatory effect. The omega-3 fatty acids allow better neurotransmitter signalling in the brain, and reduce inflammation that impairs signalling and damages nerve cells. This translates to better cognition, memory, mood and aids in brain injury healing.
Dietary supplementation with fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants reduce oxidative stress and increase neuronal communication in cell studies. A human study found that drinking concord grape juice increased verbal memory performance in adults with mild cognitive impairment.
3. Coconut oil
Mouse studies showed that virgin coconut oil restored oxidative stress in mice, due to its anti-oxidant properties, much like many of these brain foods. Ketogenic diets, including foods that contain healthy fats, such as coconut oil, have been shown to promote ketosis in the body and brain. This state has been shown to up-regulate neuronal macro-autophagy which may prevent neurodegenerative disorders. Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides, making it a good source of ketones.
4. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate and coffee contain compounds known as methylxanthines, which have been shown to improve cognitive performance, and protect neurons against dysfunction and death in animal models of stroke, Alzheimers and Parkinsons. Theobromine in cocoa and cacao products also promotes concentration and promotes a positive mood. Dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium, which acts as a nervous system relaxant and aids in proper nerve function.
5. Dark leafy greens
A prospective study of older adults consuming dark leafy vegetables showed slower cognitive decline (ex. dementia). Dark leafy greens are loaded with minerals and vitamins that our brains require for proper function such as folate, iron and magnesium.
So in short: yes have your daily dark chocolate and a cup of joe!
If you want a good brain-boosting elixir – try a berry smoothie including coconut oil and kale. Add in almond milk, a banana to thicken and some hemp seeds or nut butter/protein powder.
For more information on our author Dr. Kaitlyn Zorn, ND
Check out her website: https://drkaitlynzornnd.wixsite.com/naturopath