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