What we eat plays a huge role in how our brain functions, and in turn affects many things we do. Headaches, cloudy thinking, decreased ability to retain information etc. are all affected by the foods that we eat.
Our food is what keeps us running optimally through the performance of various functions. This includes things like hormonal regulation, control of inflammation, immune responses etc. The brain consumes the most calories we eat if we look at energy used versus weight, making it even more important to make the correct choices when it comes to our diets.
Obviously some foods are going to be better than others in ensuring that our brains are functioning optimally, so you need to know what to look for. Here are the best foods you can eat to keep your mind performing at its best:
Before you run out to the store to pick up some chocolate, it is important to note that you need to be buying the dark chocolate varieties, preferably 70% cocoa or more. The health benefits of chocolate lies in the cocoa and not in the sugar and milk, so avoid milk chocolate which is loaded with calories.
Dark chocolate on the other hand is beneficial to brain functioning mainly because of compounds they contain called flavonols. These compounds act like anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories in that they neutralize harmful free radicals, while dilating blood vessels as well.
This helps to improve blood flow to areas of the brain, which helps prevent them from becoming oxygen poor and the death of brain cells. They also are great for cardiovascular health as well again because of their influence over dilation of blood vessels.
An important part of maintaining the health of the brain is removing all of the harmful particles from it that come in the form of free radicals. Anti-oxidants are what we have available to us to do so, so naturally we want to eat foods high in these compounds to maintain the best health of the brain.
Goji berries, blackberries are particularly high in antioxidants, two of the richest foods in which we know of. Berries are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, all of which are known as powerful antioxidants as well as essential nutrients we need to perform other functions.
Ideally you want to be eating at least a cup of berries a day, and the more you eat the better. Most people are reluctant to eat too many because they are naturally high in sugar. However, because of their high fiber content the body ends up using more calories to digest and synthesize these nutrients than the berries themselves contain. This essentially puts you at a caloric deficit when you eat these foods, so have at it!
When it comes to the egg, lately the egg yolk has been given a bad rap while the egg white has been hailed as superior. The egg white contains a good amount of protein without the fat and cholesterol found within the yolk, so many people view it as nutritionally superior to the yolk.
The problem with this thinking is that the yolk does contain a lot of the nutrients we are looking for as well, including ones like choline which can improve how our brains function.
This compound is important in nerve functioning, and as many of us know our brain is essentially a big bundle of intertwining nerve fibers. Eating these foods is going to greatly improve how we process information.
If you are worried about eating egg yolks because they are high in cholesterol, you shouldn’t be too worried. Traditionally we have believed that dietary cholesterol translates to blood cholesterol, however recent studies are showing evidence to the contrary.
There isn’t a definitive link between blood cholesterol and dietary cholesterol so don’t avoid eating egg yolks if you are concerned about that.
If you have high cholesterol chances are that you are going to need medication anyway, as cutting it completely out of the diet isn’t going to necessarily reduce your blood levels of cholesterol. The body produces cholesterol on its own as it is essential in process such as in the creation of hormones, which is something to keep in mind in regards to cholesterol consumption.