Brain Foods that May Have Slipped Your Mind

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RN

You've probably heard the phrase “you are what you eat” - and it’s true.

Your most complex organ, the brain, is made up of the very stuff that you consume on a daily basis. So, if you want a healthy brain, you should probably pay serious attention to your diet.

You may have heard that fish and walnuts are “brain foods,” but there are actually many other foods that also offer impressive benefits.

In this post, we’re going to share some of these lesser known brain-supporting foods with you. Enjoy!

Eggs Support Healthy Brain Structure

When you think of eggs, cholesterol is probably the first thing that comes to mind. And you’d be right. One large egg provides about 62% of your daily cholesterol needs.1

Unfortunately, cholesterol has developed a bad reputation, and we’re mostly told to avoid it. This, however, may not be the best advice. It’s true that excess cholesterol can be a bad thing, but in the right amount, it is actually good for your brain.

The truth is your brain needs cholesterol to function properly. In fact, a significant part of your brain is composed of it.

Cholesterol incorporates into the myelin sheath, which is a protective covering for your nerve cells. As part of the myelin sheath, cholesterol plays a role in helping your brain cells communicate effectively.

Choline is another great reason to eat eggs. Choline is a fat critical to maintain brain cell structure and incorporates, like cholesterol, into the myelin sheath. It’s also used to produce acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter.

Acetylcholine plays a role in concentration, focus, learning, and memory. As a matter of fact, age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s are often characterized by low levels of acetylcholine.2

White Beans Help Brain Cell Communication

White beans aren't very popular, but they certainly should be. They’re a great source of phosphatidylserine, a brain-building nutrient.

Specifically, phosphatidylserine supports cell to cell communication, which is important for your brain cells. And, like acetylcholine, it’s also important for concentration, learning, and memory.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers gave 300 mg of phosphatidylserine daily to people experiencing cognitive decline.

After a period of several months, the treatment group showed significant improvements in learning and memory.3

Goji Berries Protect Brain Cells

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are one of nature’s richest sources of antioxidants. Native to Asia, these bright red fruits have been used as medicine for hundreds of years.

Studies show that goji berries help support cognitive function in animals4 and protect brain cells against amyloid plaque,5 a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

Goji berries have also been shown to protect brain tissue from low oxygen states and strengthen the blood-brain barrier — a specialized membrane protecting the brain from dangerous toxins.

What You Need to Know

There certainly ARE foods other than fish and walnuts that are good for your brain, and you should make it a point to work them into your diet.

Don’t hesitate to eat eggs on occasion or to incorporate new foods into your diet like goji berries for this very reason.

These foods, like many others, have ingredients which are seriously good for your brain.

Remember: You are what you eat, so choose wisely!

References:

  1. Available at: http://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Large-Egg-Nutrition.pdf. Accessed September 20, 2012.
  2. J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;67 Suppl 3:3-7; quiz 23.
  3. Aging (Milano). 1993 Apr;5(2):123-33.
  4. Neurochem Res. 2010 May;35(5):702-11. Epub 2010 Feb 5.
  5. Exp Gerontol. 2005 Aug;40(8-9):716-27.
  6. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33596. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

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9 comments:

phono graphix program said...

Some junk foods can surely cause a short term memory loss or even some minor brain problems. The new trend of junk food in the markets have lead to a great cognitive decline among millions of students worldwide.

Jeff Stone said...

Consumed fat and cholesterol are essential to brain and nervous system development and maintenance.

Anonymous said...

Point to remember when it comes to Brain Food,Whatyou eat in the form of Nutrients for the Brain and other parts of your Body is made into a paste in your digestive system called Keim,which supplys nutrients to all your vital organs. But only your liver makes the ENERGY SUGAR, food for your Brain, If you don't supplythe proper nutrients for the Brain, which will survive,even if it has to take from the other vital organs. Over time causing thier Premature demise. Remember The Brain rules,taking the last nutrients,oxygen and heat in the Body, before expiring. At all costs feed the Brain,

LifeExtension said...

Jeff Stone - We totally agree!

LifeExtension said...

Anonymous - Thanks for chiming in!

Warren Trammell said...

to me, the biggest problem with brain foods, is that most of them are very expensive for a person on a very tight budget like me. eggs are cheap and that is good. but walnuts are very expensive!

Todd said...

do they mean white kidney bean? Can I find in Fresh Market or Publix greenwise section?

LifeExtension said...

Warren Trammell - We hear you! You can always eat white kidney beans which are pretty affordable.

LifeExtension said...

Todd - You can find white kidney beans in just about any supermarket.

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