Can your diet make you smarter? Yes. A growing body of research shows that the foods we eat play an important role not only in our physical health, but also in our everyday brain function. In this post, we spotlight three foods that scientists say make us sharper by improving memory and increasing concentration.
Fatty fish —especially salmon, albacore tuna, and sardines — are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are key for a healthy mind. Many experts believe DHA, one of the main omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, plays an important role in transmitting signals between brain cells. In fact, researchers at Tufts University found that people who ate fish three times a week —and had the highest levels of DHA in their blood —slashed their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 39%.
2. Dark Chocolate
This delicious treat is far more than an indulgence. It also has powerful brain-boosting benefits. Dark chocolate contains flavonol, which helps boost the circulatory system and promotes better blood flow to the brain. A team of researchers in the UK found that participants were less drained and performed better on simple math tests after consuming beverages rich in cocoa flavonols.
Packed with protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats, nuts are the perfect brain-boosting snack. Nuts are also rich in vitamin E, which studies have found to safeguard brain function as we age.
So what should you drink with your smart meal of salmon, nuts, and dark chocolate? Experts say the most brain-friendly beverage is a glass of water. Every cell in your body needs water to thrive, and your brain cells are no exception. An Ohio University study found that people whose bodies were well hydrated scored significantly better on tests of brainpower, compared with those who weren’t drinking enough.