Your brain is the house your mind lives in. The brain is the most high-powered organ we have and requires the right amount and type of fuel to work properly. When we don’t give our brain the right fuel, it slows us down, dampers our focus, makes us more unhappy and unmotivated.
If you want to maximize your brain power so as to increase your focus, think more clearly and live a happier and longer life.
As the control center of your body, it’s in charge of keeping your heart beating and lungs breathing and allowing you to move, feel and think.
That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your brain in peak working condition.
The foods you eat play a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration.
Here are what your brain needs
Zinc is essential for neuron growth and performance. The highest concentration of zinc is located in your brain, particularly in your hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in regulating your limbic system, the region that regulates emotions. Neurons require zinc in order to communicate effectively with one another.
Low levels of zinc are associated with:
Attention and focus problems
Lowered immune system
Acne or rashes
Pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, cashews, mushrooms, spinach
Your brain is made up of 60% fat so if you want a healthy and optimally performing brain, you need to ensure you’re giving your brain the right building blocks and fat is one of the most important. Fat has been vilified over the years as being the big villain of health, but in reality, high-quality fat is not only good for you, it’s essential for your brain power and health.
Some of the most important fat to give your brain are Omega-3’s. Omega-3’s such as DHA are the essential nutrients that form the outer layer of our brain cells. In fact, not getting enough omega-3’s in your diet can affect normal brain development and cognition. It has also been shown to be implicated in premature brain aging and cognitive decline.
Getting healthy sources of omega-3’s from your diet is critical for optimal brain power.
Walnuts, chia seeds, sardines, salmon, flaxseed, eggs, fish oil
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are critical to helping our bodies fight off oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a metabolic process that occurs in the body that wears and tears on our cells. Antioxidants fight against this wear and tear to keep our cells youthful and optimally functioning.
Vitamin E is an often overlooked vitamin for brain health. It prevents oxidative stress from damaging an important component of our brain cells, DHA. DHA forms the outer membrane of our brain cells and Vitamin E works to prevents oxidative stress from damaging our brain cells to keep our brain young, energetic and high-performing.
Symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency include:
Almonds, kale, Swiss chard, parsley, olives
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is critical for brain activity and has been known to calm the brain and nervous system to the point it has been called “Nature’s Natural Valium.” Magnesium is essential for hundreds of metabolic processes within the body and brain yet it is still the second most common nutritional deficiency in the world.
Helps the brain by:
Providing anti-inflammatory benefits
Lowering stress hormones
Relaxing the nervous system
Helping to lift depression
Almonds, spinach, cashews, avocado, black beans
The “sunshine” vitamin is arguably one of the most important vitamins that many people miss out on. Vitamin D is usually associated with bone health and heart health but it’s been shown in research that Vitamin D may play a critical role in your brain performance. Several studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D can impair cognitive function and performance.
Fewer people are getting outside in the natural sunlight leading to more cases of vitamin D deficiency than ever before. The best part about Vitamin D is that you can get it for free or extremely cheap. Just a few minutes a day of natural sunlight can make a big difference in your Vitamin D levels.
Natural sunlight or find a Vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin B1: Thiamine
Many B vitamins are known to be beneficial for brain health and well-being but for this article, let’s focus on some of the critical B vitamins.
B1, also known as thiamine, is needed for a large number of metabolic processes in the body including the processes that manage your energy. Your brain uses tremendous amounts of energy throughout the day. Having low levels of thiamine can rob your brain of the vital energy that it needs.
Thiamine can boost your mood, energy, and alertness by providing the energy your brain cells need to work effectively and keep their strength up.
Low levels of thiamine have been associated with:
Loss of short-term memory
Having enough vitamin B1 (thiamine) is essential for optimal brain performance and health by providing your brain the energy is needed to get through the day.
Seaweed, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, lentils, black beans
Vitamin C is a very powerful and important antioxidant for your brain. Your brain consumes a lot of energy and oxygen in order to do its job. Antioxidants like Vitamin C protect the brain from the wear and tear of doing its job.
Vitamin C is also needed to produce important neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are important regulators of your mood, so without Vitamin C to produce these important neurotransmitters, your mood may suffer.
BroccolI, citrus fruits, bell peppers, watermelon, spinach
Vitamin B9 is known as folate. Folate is especially important for normal brain development. Folate is an important component in creating many neurotransmitters that the brain uses to communicate and regulate our immune system. Is also a natural antioxidant and studies have shown that it can help preserve brain function and memory.
Low levels of folate can be detrimental to the brain. Low levels of folate have shown to lead to increased degeneration in the cerebral cortex as well as cognitive impairment and decline.
Symptoms of low levels of folate include:
Lowered immune function
Increased irritability or anxiety
Spinach, beef liver, broccoli, asparagus, romaine lettuce.
Vitamin B6 is critical for helping to improve your mood to make you feel happier but is also important to combat mental fatigue. B6 is a critical component of building the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.
Serotonin is known as your happy neurotransmitter and is vitally important for improving your mood. Norepinephrine helps your brain stay focused and alert.
Symptoms of B6 deficiency include:
Loss of focus and concentration
Grass-fed beef, pistachios, tuna, turkey breast, avocado
Many foods can help keep your brain healthy. You can help support your brain health and boost your alertness, memory, and mood by strategically including these foods in your diet.
Your brain works hard and it takes plenty of nutrients and fuel to keep it working well. Getting the amount and type of vitamins, minerals and nutrients can make the difference in feeling energized or feeling sluggish throughout the day.
Eat a wide variety of foods that include a vast array of the top brain nutrients to ensure your brain is getting plenty of the resources it needs to work efficiently. If you want more brain power, make sure you give it brain power foods.