4 Nutrients to Help Improve Your Brain Health
Need a clarity boost? Feel like you’re not up to your full mental potential? Everything from your daily rituals to the meals you eat can have an impact on your focus, clarity, and cognitive performance. Thinking consciously about how to nurture your brain health can not only keep you focused and energized, but can also help you prevent cognitive diseases that become more common as you age.
Below are some of the top nutrients that help boost brain health and how to incorporate them into your daily diet.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found in fish, eggs, walnuts, and flaxseeds, Omega-3 Fatty Acids are powerful cognitive boosters.
You may have already heard of the benefits of taking Omega-3 or Fish Oil supplements during pregnancy to help infants increase brain health in the womb. This draws from a number of studies that have shown an increase in children’s cognitive abilities and intelligence after mothers consumed Omega-3s during pregnancy.
However, Omega-3s aren’t just great during early development. Studies have linked Omegas-3s to improved memory and decrease in the risk of age-related cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. One study concluded that the Omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) could be used “for individuals at risk [of cognitive decline] in particular, [as] a viable alternative approach to delaying brain aging and for protecting against the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease pathology.”
With so many brain benefits, you’ll want to be sure to include plenty of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in your diet to keep your memory, focus, and clarity in shape.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28% of women and 29% of men are not meeting the daily recommended amount of Vitamin E. This vitamin, found in nuts and healthy oils, is a key contributor to brain health. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant, which allows it to protect our body’s fatty cell membranes from damage caused by free radicals more than other water-soluble vitamins. The brain is more susceptible to oxidative stress than other parts of the body. Vitamin E plays an important role in protecting the brain from damage and reducing the risk of cognitive diseases.
Vitamin E can be taken as a supplement or found in foods such as almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, avocado, spinach, and olives.
Antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory, flavonoids are nutrients found in plants that are known numerous health benefits, including cognitive health.
Studies have shown that flavonoids can help combat and prevent the onset of mental decline and Alzheimer’s Disease. One study even found that women who consumed more flavonoid-rich berries were able to prevent memory decline by as much as two and a half years.
Many fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, but some are richer than others in this beneficial nutrient. For a memory boost, try eating more apples, citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, and onions.
Glucose, the brain’s preferred fuel, is found in complex carbs that help provide the brain and body with energy throughout the day. These healthy carbs release slowly after you consume them, which can help keep you steadily awake and focused for several hours. Since the brain relies heavily on these healthy carbs to function, not eating enough of them could make you feel fatigued, irritable, and mentally foggy.
Complex carbs come from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Be sure to fill your plate with plenty of these healthy carbohydrates to give yourself the brain power you need!
Each of these nutrients can have powerful, lasting effects on your cognitive function, mood, and energy levels. Make sure to pair a balanced diet with a good night’s sleep to give your brain all the tools it needs to stay healthy and perform at its best. If you can’t fit all of these foods onto your plate, try using a supplement or superfood mix to keep your brain nourished. You’ll be amazed how even the smallest lifestyle and diet changes can have a big impact on your cognitive function!
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