When most people think about food, they don't think of it as a way to increase their brain power. That's a mistake. Research has shown that certain foods can give us a mental boost. From helping us think clearer to making us feel happy, food is a terrific way to keep our brains sharp.
Here are five food favorites that taste great and can give your brain a boost too:
One terrific brain food is chocolate, specifically the cacao beans found in dark chocolate. These beans are a true "super food" and have the ability to bust through brain fog, improve your mood, and help ease pain. They are also chock full of antioxidants, which protect your brain from harmful effects.
Tip: Visit your local health food store for high quality dark chocolate that has at least 75% cacao bean content.
Popcorn isn’t just for the movies anymore. This favorite packs a whole grain punch that increases good cholesterol levels and improves blood flow to the brain. Popcorn also is high in vitamin B6, which ensures proper communication between your brain cells.
Tip: Look for low-fat versions that come in single sizes and sprinkle a little hot sauce on it to rev up your metabolism.
3. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a rich source of protein, which is important for peak brain function. Research shows that a person eating a breakfast high in protein performs better on mental tasks throughout the day. Peanut butter is also a great source of vitamins B3 and folate. In addition, peanut butter helps regulate cholesterol which also keeps those blood vessels healthy.
Tip: Spread a tablespoon over a piece of whole grain toast for a brain-boosting snack.
4. Ice Cream
Scientists at the Institute of Psychiatry in London used MRI scans to study the effect that ice cream has on the brain. The processing area at the front of the brain, which is activated when people enjoy themselves, “lit up” just as it does in those who win money or listen to invigorating music. A spokesperson for the study states, “just one spoonful lights up the happy zones in the brain.”
Okay, so it’s not actually a food, but it’s a fun and necessary part of waking up for millions of us. A study out of the University of North Dakota found that just one cup a day can help protect the blood-brain barrier by blocking the damaging effects of cholesterol. A leaky and inefficient blood-brain barrier allows harmful chemicals to pass through and has been found in Alzheimer’s patients.
Tip: Skip the high-calorie, high-fat double-caramel-full-cream version and instead opt for some fresh brewed organic roast.
You can sharpen your mind, increase your brain power, repair memory loss, and improve thought processes all by stuffing your face . . . now that’s food for thought.