Have you ever prepared endlessly for a test and found yourself forgetting important formulas and equations when you’re sitting in the actual exam? This becomes more pronounced as we grow older, because our minds are filled with more distractions and more stress, and our brain matter starts to deteriorate.
While we often consider the health of our minds and our bodies separately, the fact is that our body has a direct role in the health and performance of our mind. Here’s how:
Inflammation, that helps counter infections and heals your body from injuries, also comes with its fair share of problems: anxiety, hypertension, multiple sclerosis and so on. It may surprise you that your body’s inflammation and immune responses are manipulated by the gut. Moreover, the hormones released in the gut also impact your brain’s cognitive functions such as processing and understanding new information.
Before you start thinking about some miracle medicine to fire up your physiology in order to boost your memory, here are some natural nutritious foods that could give you the same results at a fraction of the cost of prescription medication:
Avocados are one of the healthiest fruits around – they may take some flak for a large amount of fat they contain, but worry not – these are monounsaturated fats that are actually good for your skin and blood sugar!
But, to the point of memory improvement, avocados contain folate and vitamin K; both of these nutrients prevent the clotting of blood in your brain which in turn minimizes the risk of stroke and enhances memory and concentration.
Moreover, avocados also pack loads of vitamin B and C, and the lowest sugar and highest protein content for any fruit – in other words, they’re good to fill your stomach with whilst also getting the main benefit of memory enhancement. If you can’t eat them sliced, you can incorporate them into smoothies and shakes for easier consumption.
You may have hated broccoli as a kid when your mom would put it in front of you for dinner, but turns out she had good reason to do so: like the avocado described above, it has choline and vitamin K in abundance, so it is also able to supercharge your mind.
Also, it has vitamin C – indeed, only a single cup will give you 50% more than the daily recommended amount. The antioxidant action of this vitamin will keep your skin healthy and reduce the risk of inflammation, so there is more to this vegetable than just brain benefits. Broccoli can be made into soups, eaten as a side with roasts and steaks, and even eaten by itself with a buttery sauce – I can bet that you will enjoy the taste as an adult.
While not a food per se – this is an ingredient that goes along with many main course dishes such as roasts and stews. This ordinary looking herb can be grown easily in your backyard, and its memory enhancing benefits be availed without having to prepare (or acquire) the more conventional brain foods discussed above.
Moreover, rosemary is a perennial herb i.e. you can grow it all year round – even in icy winter. So even if the roads are blocked by snow and you can’t visit the market, you can count on some trusty rosemary tea made from ingredients taken from your backyard to help you prepare for that test. Besides boosting your memory, it will invigorate you enough to do outdoor chores such as clearing out snow (here’s an interesting comparison of electric and gas snow blowers if you want to find out which is better for you by the way).
Besides the cognitive benefits, rosemary is also used as a treatment for migraines and digestive problems, among other conditions.
Here’s a slightly unorthodox yet extremely beneficial power food – it will heal your gut, restoring it to optimal function, and by extension, it’ll also enhance your mental faculties. Enjoyed for centuries, the bone broth will strengthen your immune system, bolster your joints and help you counter food allergies.
Its benefits can be attributed to the rich amounts of collagen it contains, alongside amino acids like glycine and proline. Consuming bone broth is the perfect way to take advantage of the link between your physical and mental health – fix your body, you’ll inevitably be fixing your mind.
The foods that I’ve covered are only my favorites – there are literally dozens more: celery, egg yolks, coconut oil, dark chocolate, extra virgin olive oil, blueberries to name but a few., so there is no need to feel let down if my picks don’t suit your taste. Keep in mind though, that food alone will not help you keep your mind healthy – exercise and regular breaks are a couple of other things that you can try.