Instead of popping pills or guzzling excess caffeine to improve your memory and focus, munch on these wholesome super foods. Click through to check out the foods that can improve your brain's health.
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Spinach is high in potassium, which helps to maintain the electrical conductivity of the brain. That conductivity helps produce lightning-fast signals between neurons that make us think more clearly and respond more quickly.
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The folic acid in acorn squash can help keep the mind sharp, especially for older adults, a study shows. Folic acid can improve memory and the speed at which the brain processes information. A 2007 study in the journal The Lancet found that folic acid supplements given to hundreds of men and women ages 50 to 70 for three years helped improve cognitive functions that normally decline with age.
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Scientists have discovered that a compound found in broccoli may protect the brain after an injury. This cruciferous veggie contains a chemical called sulforaphane, which protects the brain from further damage by strengthening the blood-brain barrier that allows some of the body's materials to cross into the brain. A 2009 study in Neuroscience Letters found that sulforaphane given to rats soon after a brain injury improved their performance in a maze test.
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Wheat germ is filled with B-complex vitamins that can reduce homocysteine levels in the bloodstream. Homocysteine is a common amino acid found in blood, and large amounts have been associated with heart and blood vessel disease. A 2002 study in the journal Stroke also found that moderately high levels of homocysteine were linked with stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia.
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Water makes up 85 percent of the brain’s weight. Staying hydrated can have a direct impact on brain volume, a 2005 study in the journal Neurology found. Researchers discovered that not taking in fluids for 16 hours resulted in a 0.55 percent decrease in brain volume. But after rehydrating, total brain volume increased by 0.72 percent. So drink up!
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The magnesium in Brazil nuts could help the brain function better. Science Daily reported on a 2010 study in the journal Neuron that found boosting brain magnesium improved learning and memory in rats, leading researchers to suggest that taking in more magnesium could be one way to improve cognitive function. Brazil nuts are a great source of magnesium and also contain healthy monosaturated fats.
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Avocados are delicious and full of healthy monounsaturated fat. The American Heart Assn. says that eating foods high in monounsaturated fats can help decrease the amount of LDL “bad” cholesterol in the blood. This can help improve blood flow throughout the body, decreasing the risk of stroke.
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Eating blueberries may improve memory, learning, and general cognitive function, thanks to a compound they contain called flavonoids. According toPsychology Today, flavonoids help protect the brain from free radicals, which can harm healthy tissue and are associated with memory decline.
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Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as herring, sardines, and wild salmon, may be essential for memory, cognitive performance, and behavioral function, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Since the body can’t produce omega-3s they must be consumed; eating foods rich in these fatty acids is best.