Carolinas HealthCare System
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What Foods Help Boost Brain Power?
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An undernourished brain leads to a low-functioning brain. It seems logical that, like any other organ in your body, your brain works better if you feed it better. Unfortunately, in America, the four most common vegetables for children – and some adults! – are:

  1. French fries
  2. French fries
  3. French fries and
  4. Ketchup!

“A child with a poor diet may experience fatigue and be unable to fully participate in learning at school,” said Hans Mah, MD, with Cabarrus Pediatrics-Kannapolis. “Poor nutrition can also make a child more likely to become sick and miss school.”

All are true, as well, of adults who do not get the proper nutrients: daily fatigue, poor performance at work and a decreased ability to fight off infection and illness.

A well-balanced diet, rich in healthy nutrients, is essential for brain health. And, the list of top brain foods are, not surprisingly, ones that also support heart health, maintain weight and decrease your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Understanding what each food does for your brain puts you ahead of the game when it comes to treating your body well.

Top Brain Foods

  • Walnuts - Polyphenols in walnuts may improve communication between neurons, those cells that transmit information through the body.
  • Spinach - The magnesium in these greens helps dilate blood vessels, boosting blood flow throughout the brain and the rest of the body.
  • Flax Seed -These small seeds are full of protein and fiber. Not sure what to do with them? Just toss a spoonful into cereal or yogurt for brain-boosting power.
  • Salmon - Fish is full of omega-3s. A study in the journal Neurology showed people with the lowest amounts of omega-3 fatty acid in their blood cells tended to have smaller brains!
  • Olive Oil - Fatty acids and polyphenols help to reduce inflammation in your joints and cells – all good news for brain function.
  • Coffee - Less than a cup of coffee a day has been shown to boost brainpower. Caffeine is not necessarily good for young children, however.
  • Mussels - This shell fish is full of vitamin B12, which studies have shown can actually improve your mental capacity and help you to stay stable emotionally.
  • Dark Chocolate - Just a few ounces of cocoa can improve blood flow to the brain. Stick with as pure as you can get.
  • Oranges - Because vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, it helps your brain function more effectively.
  • Greek Yogurt - This food-of-the-moment has lots of calcium, which, when in low supply, can lead to anxiety, irritability and slow thinking.

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins and minerals is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods. This list will get you going in that direction. Discuss your diet with your doctor to find out more about eating well and feeding your family meals that promote wellness.

Eat Well With Us

The primary care doctors at Carolinas HealthCare System can help you get (and stay) on the path to wellness. They can also provide referrals to nutritionists and other healthy eating resources that will help you reach your goals.

Looking for a Primary Care Doctor?

Call 884-881-2180 or complete an online request form to find a doctor near you.