Simple Unconventional Brain Foods List to Support a Healthy Mind
Guide To: The Unconventional Brain Foods List to Support a Healthy Mind
A brain foods list can vary from one person to another. Brain foods are natural food sources that support better cognitive function and overall health. The value behind creating daily lists, establishing routines, and consuming a healthy balanced diet that includes various brain foods, should not be understated. It is no mistake or coincidence that these suggestions are frequently discussed as important factors towards improving focus, concentration, memory, eliminating brain fog, and maintaining overall healthy cognition.
There are many brain foods that have proven to be beneficial to overall brain health. The more variety is especially good for the picky eaters out there. While I can't say that I fall into this category, my lovely fiancé does. So, I've learned to appreciate the importance of having variety, even when variety means something that is more “plain.“
The more brain foods we know about, the easier it is to implement them into our everyday diets. They have not only proven to be very beneficial to those struggling with ADD and ADHD, but are also essential to maintaining and improving overall brain health for everyone.
Today, I am going to share 5 more items to add to your brain foods list and explain their specific benefits. These are some of the less widely known brain foods.
5 Brain Foods You Should be Eating to Improve Cerebral Stamina and Mental Clarity
1. Dark Chocolate
Yes, you read that right! I figured we would start this brain foods list with a snack that will put a smile on many of your faces. Number 1 on the brain foods list is one that makes us happy. Initially, this was discovered by a team at the University of Nottingham that showed that eating dark chocolate could help sharpen the mind and even give a short-term boost to cognitive skills.
Dark chocolate boosts blood flow to key areas of the brain. Studies have continued to show many benefits of cocoa flavanols that enhance brain function and help fight fatigue, sleep deprivation, and even some signs of aging. Unfortunately, that king size dark chocolate you got from Hersey Park will not make you 5 years younger 🙁 Don't forget, there are some bad brain foods that have shown to have a negative effect on our cognitive function, as well.
Trust me, I researched it already. Dark chocolate benefits also include:
- Increases endorphin's, providing feeling of pleasure, which is great for a positive mental state
- Contains Serotonin, acting as an anti-depressant
- Reduces blood pressure
- Reduces LDL Cholesterol (the bad kind) up to 10%
- Satisfies that sweet tooth, while still providing some healthy benefits, but of course, only in moderation
2. Green Tea
This has become one of my personal favorites and a “brain food” that I never imagined becoming part of my regular routine. However, it has quickly become one that I consume most consistently on a day-to-day basis.
Recent studies have shown that green tea extract increased activity in the brain's DLPFC (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex). This is a key area known to moderate the working memory, which suggests that green tea extract may enhance the brain's cognitive function in particular, for the working memory. Although, early studies did not show profound results, it did show that it may modulate brain activity and mediate working memory, which has lead to further testing and research to go along with the many other green tea benefits.
These recent studies suggest promising clinical implications of cognitive impairments including, psychiatric disorders like dementia and even neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.
There are MANY additional benefits to consuming green tea regularly that go beyond cognitive function. Just remember not to add too much sugar, which again I am guilty of from time to time, but one step at a time, right? Right? Can I have another piece of that dark chocolate? What were we talking about? Damn, ADHD! Oh right, brain foods…
“Beans, Beans, they're good for your heart. The more you eat, the more you're smart!” OK, I may have changed up that saying a little from the version my Father told me growing up, but we have also learned a lot more about the cognitive benefits of consuming beans, since that time. There are many varieties of beans that improve cognitive function. Let's break down some of the best bean considered, brain foods:
- Black Beans – Black beans contain a naturally occurring folate, which is a water-soluble B vitamin that is also found in organic meats and leafy greens. Folate is essential to normal brain function and early evidence has indicated that low levels of folate may contribute to Alzheimer's disease, according to the mayo clinic. Black beans are also rich in antioxidants that provide a variety of health benefits.
- Fava Beans – Fava beans also contain folate and vitamin B-12. Fava beans also contain L-dopa, a precursor of neuro-chemicals in the brain such as dopamine. Dopamine contributes to the smooth functioning of body movements and are believed to help prevent Parkinson's disease, if adequate amounts are added to the everyday diet.
- Soybeans – Recent studies have shown improvement to overall cognitive function, in particular postmenopausal women, for verbal memory and front lobe function, as well as overall brain circulation.
We all know that apples are good for us and are a beneficial fruit for our health. However, many people do not realize the positive benefits that apples provide towards cognitive health and are surprised to find it on a brain foods list. Experts say that apples help contribute to boost your memory and help you think more clearly, as well as contribute to your overall health.
Apples contain flavanoids called quercetin, which have been show to protect the brain from oxidative injury. Apples are one of these super brain foods and perhaps something you have already been regularly consuming. If not, crunch away and help your brain, while keeping the doctor away!
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes get their rich orange color from carotenoids. Carotenoids act as antioxidants, which are important for the brain and excellent at protecting cells from damage. Carotenoids also help form vitamin A, which is important in helping to sprout new neurons and to help neurons find each other to form new connections.
Believe it or not, despite their sweet taste, they have lower levels of sugar than regular white potatoes. Eating more foods with a lower glycemic index, like sweet potatoes are excellent resources to support optimal brain health.
So that wraps up the latest brain foods list, but you can be sure that I will continue to revisit this topic, especially as new research continues. As always, please feel free to comment below and share any comments, questions, and/or brain food suggestions that you may have.
What are some of the more unconventional brain foods that can be found on your list? What foods would you add to this brain foods list? What has been your experience with brain foods and what are some creative and useful ways you have worked them into your daily diet? Please share below!