When it comes to long-lasting brain power, you may not have to look farther than the inside of your fridge. Certain vitamins, minerals and brain-healthy foods can help boost your alertness and cognition.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fats that play a big role in reasoning, memory and attention. Your body doesn't make these essential fatty acids, but according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, they're important for your body's functioning.
Some studies have indicated that increasing omega-3 fatty acids in your diet could have potential to stave off dementia and other brain disorders, but further study is needed to be conclusive. And research has shown that for some who already experiencing mild cognitive impairment, getting the recommended amount of omega-3s may improve attention, processing speed and immediate recall.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include plant oils, chia seeds, walnuts and fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna. The NIH recommends eating eight ounces of seafood per week.
Carotenoids are what give some fruits and vegetables their bright, beautiful color. These pigments have the power to slow inflammation that can harm the brain.
While a 2013 study showed that it was feasible that older people who consumed high levels of carotenoids could demonstrate better memory, its findings were not definitive. It also found that carotenoid levels could predict cognitive function, indicating a strong connection between carotenoid intake and increased brain power.
Good sources of carotenoids include green leafy vegetables, especially kale and spinach. Other healthy choices are red, orange or yellow bell peppers, tomatoes and sweet potatoes.
Vitamins B, C and E
Certain vitamins give an extra boost in brain power.
For example, B vitamins not only help your memory, but also help build your muscles. And stronger muscles and brain health are closely related, a 2016 study suggests.
The study's researchers found that, on a brain test given to twin pairs, the physically stronger twin performed better than their weaker sibling. To keep your muscles strong and your brain agile and alert, incorporate good sources of vitamin B into your diet, including whole grains, fruits and veggies, salmon, potatoes and lean pork.
Not getting enough of the vitamins C and E increases your risk of memory loss.
Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, sweet peppers and Brussels sprouts.
Green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds and almonds are good sources of vitamin E.