Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Victor Wembanyama on stage after being selected first overall in the 2023 NBA draft
NBA Mock Draft
Cavan Nicholas, Contributing Writer • May 27, 2024

Top Foods to Improve Brain Health

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Eating the right foods builds brain function and intelligence (Adobe Stock Images)

Do you ever think about how your eating habits affect your brain? When asked this question, sophomore Gabby Ferarra responded, “I think teens look more at if a food is generally healthy or not based on its calories and sugar, not specifically brain health.” It is difficult for teens to think about how eating certain foods could potentially save them from Alzheimer’s and dementia when the future seems so far away. However, eating these same foods could help teens improve their memory, extremely important for studying, while also causing their overall brain function and complex thinking abilities to improve. Consistently incorporating greater concentrations of these specific foods in your diet can be extremely beneficial for both short-term and long-term brain health. When asked what food she thought would be high on the list, sophomore Isabella Monti guessed, “I think nuts would be important for brain health because of their high protein content,” and she was correct!

  • Fish

Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, extremely beneficial for health in general. However, one omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, maintains healthy brain function and efficiency. The brain uses omega fatty acids to build new nerves and brain cells, which improve memory and learning. Omega-3s have also been linked to lower blood levels of beta-amyloid, a dangerous protein that can form lumps in the brain and cause Alzheimer’s disease. 

  • Berries 

While all berries prove to have positive effects on brain health due to their pigmented skin which helps improve memory, blueberries are the richest in antioxidants which neutralize free radicals, unstable molecules that attack healthy molecules throughout the body. Eating berries can prevent degenerative alterations in the brain and amplify brain function and communication between brain cells. 

  • Nuts 

If you are not a fan of fish, try to incorporate more nuts into your diet to consume omega-3 fatty acids to improve your memory. Specifically, walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which improve cognitive abilities, and this omega-3 is linked to cleaner arteries and lower blood pressure, both beneficial for heart and brain health. Nuts are also a great source of protein, and because protein is the secondary largest matter in the brain to water, so nourishing your brain with protein is important.  

  • Leafy Greens

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and broccoli can reduce the rate or cognitive decline due to the variety of nutrients they contain, including folate, vitamin K, lutein, Vitamin E, and beta carotene. 

  • Turmeric 

Turmeric is such a powerful brain food due to the nutrients which can directly enter the brain through crossing the blood brain barrier. With antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, it increases the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin in the hypothalamus which can reduce anxiety and depression. Studies show that turmeric may improve memory and promote the growth of brain cells. 

  • Coffee 

A healthy amount of coffee can be extremely beneficial for the brain. Coffee prevents a build up of adenosine which can cause drowsiness while also increasing alertness and short term cognitive performance. Long term, drinking coffee is linked to the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons. However, this does not include energy drinks. The excessive caffeine and sugar in energy drinks can be detrimental to brain health long term. Drinking coffee late at night can have negative effects on memory. 

  • Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate has antioxidants and flavonoids which enhance learning and memory while supporting cognitive functions of the brain. Eating dark chocolate can also increase mood due to the prebiotic effect the chocolate has on mental health through the connection between the diverse gut-microbiome that eating dark chocolate creates and the brain. 

  • Avocados

Avocados are rich in Vitamin E and omega fatty acids which help facilitate brain growth and development along with protecting cell membranes from free radicals. Scientists also recently discovered that vitamin E possibly decreases the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers because of how it maintains healthy cells and repairs unhealthy ones. 

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