When we think of diet and nutrition – we often associate healthy changes with physical rewards such as losing weight. We usually don’t think about the possible benefits to the health of our brain, but new research is showing that the foods we eat can have a powerful effect on our brain.
The brain is a complex organ, requiring constant nutrition in order to maintain and grow. Just as there are foods that can boost our health and help us loose weight, there are also foods that can help build healthy brain and improve cognitive functions such as memory and attention. Our bodies – and brains – need a rich supply of nutrients like zinc, magnesium, iron, omega 3 fatty acids and more to remain healthy and vitalized. Unfortunately for many people, their diets are leaving them deficient of the important vitamins and nutrients their brains need.
According to Dr. Drew Ramsey of Columbia University, there are nearly 2 billion people globally with a deficiency in iron. 60% of Americans have a magnesium deficiency and 70% are deficient of zinc – a nutrient that is fundamental to over 300 chemical reactions in the brain.
So how can you build a healthy brain? Here are seven foods rich in vitamins and nutrients essential to the brain:
Kale is rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer nutrients, as well as antioxidants. Kale is rich in vitamins E and K, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids – all of which are powerful anti-inflammatories and essential for a healthy brain. Additionally, Kale is packed with phytonutrients that help promote brain growth. Combine all that nutrition with its low calories – about 33 calories per one cup of chopped Kale – and you’ve got yourself a smart and healthy snack.
Brain boosting vitamins and nutrients: Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Omega-3, Magnesium and various phytonutrients
Salmon has long list of essential vitamin and nutrients, including vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3 fats and iodine. Salmon has shown to be effective in improving mood and cognition, with many researchers attributing its effectiveness to its high Omega-3 content.
Brain boosting vitamins and nutrients: Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Omega-3 and iodine
Oysters are rich in brain boosting nutrients such as Omega-3, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12 and more! They are also said to improve vitality, promote weight loss (low fat content), and build strong bones.
Brain boosting vitamins and nutrients: Omega-3, Zinc, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and Iron
Broccoli is rich in vitamins K and E, both of which are necessary for optimal brain health. In addition to its brain boosting potential, broccoli may help reduce vitamin D deficiency – a common deficiency in the U.S. affecting 13% of Americans. An additional 30% of Americans are on the verge of vitamin D deficiency – whose symptoms range from increased levels of pain and soreness to increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Brain boosting vitamins and nutrients: Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Omega-3, Zinc, Iron and Magnesium
Few other foods can match the nutritional value and energy boosting capacity of this superfood. They are rich in antioxidants that have been shown to help improve short-term memory. These antioxidants search out and destroy free radicals – harmful toxins that damage and destroy cells in the body. Berries are also rich in phytonutrients with a wide array of health benefits – from brain health to increased energy levels.
Brain boosting vitamins and nutrients: Vitamin K and various phytonutrients
6. Nuts & Seeds
According to Dr. Drew Ramsey, 97% of Americans are deficient in vitamin E – a key vitamin found in nuts and seeds. Vitamin E is another essential building block to the brain and nuts & seeds are a great food source of the vitamin. In addition to high vitamin E content, foods like almonds, walnuts, pumpkins seeds and flaxseeds are a great source of magnesium – a nutrient that promotes the growth of the brain.
Brain boosting vitamins and nutrients: Vitamin E, Magnesium, Omega-3, Zinc and Iron
Lentils are easy to make and are packed with nutritional value. They are a great source of iron as well as folate – a b vitamin necessary for the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. In addition to boosting brain health, the rich iron content will help increase energy levels.