Health and WEllness Associates
EHS – Telehealth
4 Foods That Make You Smarter, Really
Do you ever wish you could improve your memory or concentration? Does your brain sometimes feel sluggish when you’re trying to learn something new? You might shrug it off as a lack of smarts, but poor mental performance could also be linked to the foods you eat. You can choose to eat foods that will make you smarter, help you process information faster and help you retain what you learn.
Can food really make you smarter?
Some people are naturally more gifted in certain areas than others. Eating amazing food will not suddenly make you a mathematical genius or a musical prodigy. However, your brain does have potential for learning, and making some specific dietary choices can help you realize that potential by improving your ability to focus, remember, and make connections.
What foods should you eat?
Your mind and body benefit from healthier foods in general, but there are some specific foods that are especially nourishing for your brain. Try to add these foods to your diet to boost your brain power:
- Walnuts: Walnuts are the king of nuts when it comes to brain health. They have the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut. Your brain uses omega-3 fatty acids. When you don’t get enough of this nutrient to feed your brain, cognitive function starts to decline, especially memory.
- Fish: Like walnuts, fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, but that is not its only benefit. Researchers discovered that eating fish once a week increased grey matter in the brain. Eating fish can actually prevent age-related deterioration of brain function — fish makes you smarter, and you stay smarter for longer when you make it part of your diet.
- Blueberries: Berries are one of the best foods for brain health. Blueberries and other berries (like blackberries and raspberries) improve the neural pathways in your brain, prevent neural cell death, reduce inflammation, and improve cognitive and behavioral function in the brain.
- Leafy greens. Green foods are among the most nutrient dense on the planet. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, especially folic acid, which helps to prevent against cognitive decline. Greens will help you be more aware of your surroundings and keep your vocabulary sharp.
Think about it — a salad with kale, spinach, walnuts, salmon and blueberries could be the best thing to give your brain on a daily basis!
What foods should you avoid?
Just like some foods give your brain a boost, others push it into a fog. The biggest brain-buster is sugar. Diets high in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup drastically reduce your mental readiness. Researchers discovered that elevated sugar in the diet leads to greater insulin production and resistance in the brain. Exposure to elevated insulin reduces the brain’s response, leading to memory loss and slower motor function. Increased insulin resistance also affects how well your cells store energy for later use — your brain will not be able to fire on all cylinders without the right available nutrients.
Your diet affects how well you’ll do on a test, how quickly you respond to drivers on the road at rush hour, or how quickly you solve a problem. So, the next time you’re trying to decide what to make for lunch, remember to feed your brain.