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3 Best Brain Foods to Include in Your Diet

Your brain is the control centre of your body, and it makes sense to do what you can to keep it in peak working condition, not only to protect your mental capacity but also to maintain the healthy functioning of your entire system.

Adding brain food to your diet will play a significant role in keeping your brain healthy and help to improve mental tasks such as memory and concentration so you can confidently stay on top of your university assignments.

3 Best Brain Foods to Include in your Diet

Oily Fish

This one is top of the list when it comes to brain food due to fatty fish sources such as salmon, trout and sardines being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

60% of your brain is made up of fat and your brain uses omega-3s to build brain and nerve cells which are essential for memory and learning.

Omega-3 fatty acids also play a role in reducing inflammation not only in your brain but in your entire body. Inflammation, which is often exacerbated by stress and anxiety, shuts down energy production in the neurons, so brain endurance declines, making it more difficult to read, work or concentrate.  In extreme cases, chronic neuroinflammation will result in neuron death and lead to brain degenerative disorders.

Due to its inflammation-reducing properties,  Omega-3 fats have thus also been noted to slow down age-related mental decline such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

One study revealed that people who ate baked or broiled fish regularly had more grey matter in their brains which is the part of the brain that contains most of the nerve cells controlling memory, emotion and regulating decision making. Studies have also noted that those not getting enough omega-3s in their diet show learning impairments and depression.

Overall, fatty fish is excellent brain food. Anyone for sardines on toast or maybe a little salmon sushi indulgence?

Nuts

If you don’t have an allergy, nuts are another powerhouse brain food. They contain brain-boosting nutrients including vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium, healthy fats and other plant compounds.

Research has shown that nuts improve markers for heart health which is also linked to a healthy brain. Ingesting nuts can improve cognition and memory and help prevent neurodegenerative diseases.

Since Omega-3 fatty acids are sensitive to oxidation, supplementing with vitamin E, which shields cell membranes from free radical damage, is a good strategy to achieve better outcomes. These two anti-oxidant substances act synergically to reduce inflammation, so adding nuts to your diet on top of fatty fish, is a great way to achieve this balance.

The number one nut to add to your brain food diet is walnuts, which are interestingly shaped like a brain, as these not only contain many of the nutrients provided by nuts but are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids too.

Brazil nuts are a rich source of Selenium and snacking on 5 or 6 of these a day will achieve the daily recommended dose of Selenium, which is a vital brain nutrient, not only improving memory but providing further protection against brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even epilepsy. A safe amount of Selenium has also been shown to help regulate mood.

Almonds contain both L-Carnitine and riboflavin, another two nutrients that are important for maintaining good brain health and reducing inflammation.

The recommended number of nuts to add to your diet per day is around a handful, preferably unsalted. For best results, choose a selection of mixed nuts rather than just one type.

Blueberries

Blueberries too, are excellent brain food and provide numerous health benefits along with delivering anthocyanins, which are a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Antioxidants act against oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which may contribute to neurodegenerative decline and diseases.

Some of the antioxidants in blueberries have been found to accumulate in the brain and help improve communication between brain cells, which positively impact memory.

Adding blueberries to your morning smoothie or sprinkling them onto your breakfast cereal is a great way to start a brain-boosting day.

Bonus Tip – Drinking 4 to 8 glasses of water a day will further enhance your brain health and function.

We understand the challenges of university life, and we also have tons of other great tips and advice to make your student life just that much easier. Visit us at www.capetownstudenthostels.co.za.