Your brain is a very important and powerful organ in the body. It uses up about 20% of your total energy. So, think about this, if you give your brain healthy food to use for its activities, you could get value for your money. By healthy foods, I mean foods that contain the nutrients that you need in the quantity and quality to maintain optimum performance. Eating Junks actually takes the place of quality nutrients that your brain needs and can even cause damages (as in the case of sugary foods).
There are some foods that scientists have identified as brain foods. These are foods for brain health that should include in your meals to optimize your success:
- Foods that Contain Omega-3 fatty acids
Example of foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids includes fatty fish such as Atlantic Mackerel (Titus fish), Horse Mackerel (Kote), Sardines, Catfish. Many studies have linked the consumption of fish and improvement in mental health – memory loss and depression. Fish consumption is also beneficial for heart health so making fish an essential part of your diet will be helpful.
- Foods containing Choline
Egg yolks, turkey liver, beef, chickpeas contain choline, which your body uses to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps your memory and your mood. Eggs also contain folate (the natural form of folic acid), Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6 which are vitamins that are also important in improving brain health.
- Foods containing folate (or folic acid), Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12
These foods include fruits, vegetables (especially dark green leafy vegetables), eggs, whole grains, beans, fish.
Folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies has been linked to neurological disorders such as depression and cognitive impairment by scientists. Some studies have also linked a deficiency of folate with a decline in cognitive abilities and increased dementia. Together, Folate, Vitamin B6, B12 have are important in the fight again anaemia, poor immune function and even cancer.
- Foods rich in flavonoids
Many fruits such as citrus, coffee, cocoa and dark chocolates, green tea, and red wine are foods for brain health which contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are a group of antioxidants. They mop up free radicals that cause damages in the body. They are also anti-inflammatory; helping your body to fight infections and heal injuries. Flavonoids are preventive in the fight against cancer and other diseases. Flavonoids also importantly help the memory and with learning. They increase your alertness and sharpen your concentation
- Iron-rich foods
Foods that are rich in iron are particularly important for children’s brain to grow. This is a big issue in Nigeria and a real source of concern if we want to have a future of successful people who can use their brains effectively. Iron is also important for women too because they are more prone to deficiencies of iron as a result of heavy menstruation, pregnancy and lactation. Iron helps to reduce fatigue and can help with focus. Foods rich in iron include beans, liver, meat. For more about Iron, click here.
- Foods high in zinc and selenium
Nuts, beans, whole grains contain Zinc, while selenium are be found in nuts, meat, fish, eggs. They are also important foods for brain health. A diet low in Zinc has been linked to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s diseases and depression. Also, poor reasoning ability has been linked to low selenium levels.
To wrap this up, what you really need is to diversify your meals to include all these categories. So, if you are eating fish today, beef tomorrow, nuts and beans, whole grains, eggs, fruits and vegetables etc. every other day, and you drink coffee, green tea, red wine, water, you would find out that you have covered this list of important foods for brain health I wrote for you.
Don’t forget that you are a champion. You have what it takes to succeed at any level you want to operate. You are in charge of your brain so take care of your brain by eating foods for brain health.
Till I come your way again on Nutrition and success series, don’t forget to eat better and live better.