Foods for The Brain
The brain is a highly complex organ that plays an important role in many essential functions, from cognition and thinking, to mood regulation, learning and memory, and processing information. The brain has a high lipid (fat) content, including an Omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which makes up a significant portion of the lipids in the cell membranes of neurons. It is thought that the brain uses up to 20% of the body’s total energy, and mainly relies on carbohydrates (glucose) for energy. So, when it comes to brain foods, start by ensuring that your brain has enough healthy carbohydrates, such as fruits, root vegetables and oats, to fuel itself.
What we eat plays a huge role in our brain health, much like it does with every organ within our body. But what foods are good for the brain? Here, we delve into the various foods for the brain and memory, as well as brain food supplements that can help support cognitive health…
Best Foods for Brain Health & Memory
1. Oily fish
It’s the Omega 3 fatty acid Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, that contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function. Oily fish does also contain the mineral iodine, which contributes to normal cognitive function. As well as this, oily fish contains B vitamins, including vitamin B3 niacin, B1 thiamin, B12 and B6 which contribute to normal psychological function.
Seafood such as oysters, crab and lobster are great brain foods, containing various nutrients needed for a healthy brain. The mineral iodine is found in shellfish which contributes to normal cognitive function plus vitamin B12, which contributes to normal psychological function. Shellfish also contain Omega 3 fatty acids, primarily DHA.
3. Dark chocolate
Look for a chocolate bar that contains at least 70% cacao to reap the benefits of this tasty food. Dark chocolate contains the mineral magnesium, which contributes to normal psychological function. Plus, dark chocolate is a source of carbohydrates, which help maintain normal brain function.
4. Nuts and seeds
There’s more than meets the eye to those tiny sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds (to name just a handful). Nuts and seeds contain brain-supporting omega-3 fatty acids, much like oily fish does. Plus, the mineral zinc can be found in nuts, which contributes to normal cognitive function as well as magnesium, shown to support normal psychological function.
Your morning cup of coffee could also play a role in helping support your brain. Research has found that caffeine can help with cognitive function, particularly alertness and vigilance. Caffeine is a stimulant however, so avoid having this too close to bedtime so that it doesn't disrupt your shut eye.
Poached, scrambled or whipped into an omelette; however you like your eggs in the morning, they could be doing your brain plenty of good. It’s all thanks to the B vitamins found in eggs - primarily B12, B6 and folic acid. Vitamin B12, B6 and folate all contribute to normal psychological function. Eggs also contain iodine, which contributes to normal cognitive function, and are a great source of choline.
Broccoli is one of those important brain boosting foods. This fibre-filled green vegetable contains plenty of vitamin C, which contributes to normal psychological function. Broccoli also contains other nutrients for good health including fibre, which supports a healthy digestion.
8. Oranges and kiwis
Both of these delicious juicy fruits are a great source of healthy carbohydrates to help fuel your brain. As a bonus, they’re packed with vitamin C, which not only supports immune health, but also contributes to normal psychological function.
9. Leafy greens
Spinach, kale and bok choy make a great salad base, whilst also providing nutrients that can help support cognitive health. Iron, a mineral found in leafy greens, contributes to normal cognitive function, whilst folate contributes to normal psychological function.
These mini but mighty berries pack a big punch when it comes to brain health benefits. Other berries such as raspberries and strawberries can also provide support for your brain. Berries are a source of carbohydrates, which contribute to the maintenance of normal brain function. Berries also contain high levels of vitamin C and are rich in anthocyanins - pigments that give blueberries their distinctive colour.
11. Red meat
Beef, lamb and venison are foods that are good for your brain and memory. Red meat contains the minerals zinc and iron, which contribute to normal cognitive function, as well as a range of B vitamins.
Vitamins for Brain Function
The brain is such a complex, energy intensive organ, that it requires a range of micronutrients to work well. Besides brain foods we listed above, there are several specific nutrients and vitamins for brain function that support brain health, cognitive function and mental performance. If you want to show your brain some love, take a look at these.
The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA has been shown to support brain health. Vitabiotics Ultra Omega-3 High Purity Fish Oil provides the omega-3 fatty acids DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) which help maintain health and wellbeing. DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal vision and brain function. Plus, this supplement contains a natural source of vitamin E, which helps to protect cells from oxidative stress.
Vitamin B Complex
B Vitamins are a group of eight water-soluble vitamins that play a host of important roles in the body, including vitamin B1 and B6 helping with energy release, vitamin B12 help to support the immune system, vitamin B1 to support heart health, biotin (b7) to contributes to normal hair and vitamin B3 to support normal skin health.
Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin B Complex contains all eight of these B vitamins. When it comes to the health of our brain and nervous system, vitamins B6, thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3) and biotin (vitamin B7) contribute to normal functioning of the nervous system. Meanwhile, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) contributes to normal mental performance. Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin B Complex High Potency is the highest strength vitamin B supplement in the Ultra range.
The mineral zinc Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal cognitive function. Vitabiotics Ultra Zinc contains 15mg of zinc and is also balanced with the mineral copper, which both support a healthy immune system. Zinc isn’t just good for brain health; it also contributes to the maintenance of normal vision and the maintenance of normal skin, hair and nails.
Less commonly known, Ginkgo Biloba comes from the ginkgo tree which dates back more than 200 million years. This ancient botanical supports our brain health as it contributes to normal mental performance and cognitive function. Vitabiotics Ultra Ginkgo & Ginseng combines Ginkgo Biloba with another botanical: Siberian Ginseng, which also contributes to normal mental performance and cognitive function.
Typically, iron is renowned for being a key mineral in helping to reduce tiredness and fatigue, but did you know, iron actually contributes to normal cognitive function too? Iron contributes to the normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin as well as normal oxygen transport in the body. Haemoglobin carries oxygen to the brain, heart, muscles and to tissues throughout the body. Vitabiotics Feroglobin Capsules contain iron, as well as folic acid and vitamin B12.
This mineral is important for several processes within the body, including supporting normal thyroid function, as well contributing to normal growth in children. Iodine is also important when it comes to the brain, as it contributes to normal cognitive function.
Other Vitamins For Brain Health
Vitabiotics' Neuromind range supports brain health and brings together important micronutrients such as iodine, which contributes to cognitive performance, pantothenic acid, which contributes to mental performance and with an option that includes Omega-3 DHA.
Neuromind Original contains over 25 nutrients which come together to create a comprehensive formula. This formula includes nutrients iron, zinc and iodine as well as vitamins B12, B6, thiamin (vit. B1), folic acid, vitamin C, magnesium and ~Ginkgo Biloba, all of which help contribute to cognitive function..
Neuromind Plus contains the addition of Omega-3 DHA in a convenient dual pack. Omega-3 DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function.
Ultimately, you can support your brain health and support your memory, mood and focus, by incorporating these brain foods into your daily diet. Alongside your diet, brain supplements can help fill out any gaps in your diet , providing nutrients to support your brain and cognition, as can various brain exercises. Doing everything you can to look after your brain can help make your day-to-day that little bit easier.