The Villa Blog

10 Brain-Boosting Power Foods

Improving what we put into our bodies helps to improve our strength and physical well-being, but did you know that eating the right foods can also boost mental health? Scientists continue to uncover strong links between what we eat and how our brains function. And the good news? We don’t need to wait until a new year to start new habits of health. Here are 10 brain boosting foods to add to your diet:

1. Avocados

Packed with vitamin K and folate, avocado helps prevent blood clots in the brain, which ultimately protects against stroke. Additionally, scientists believe avocados improve concentration and help strengthen memory. Add them to your salad or smoothie. Enjoy the benefits of this brain boosting powerhouse.

2. Blueberries

In addition to being one of the best anti-oxidant foods on the planet, blueberries are credited for protecting the brain from stress and degeneration. Scientists believe they also improve short-term memory! And if that isn’t enough incentive, they are delicious, too! Add them to pancakes, smoothies, ice cream, or salad. Or eat them plain! They are just plain good for the brain. 

3. Broccoli

Mom was onto something when she told us to finish our broccoli as kids. Due to high levels of vitamin K and choline (a macronutrient responsible for – among many things – brain development), it helps keep the brain and memory sharp. Add it to soup or eat it with dip. However you eat it, just make sure you do! 

4. Coconut oil

With over 75 known uses and cures, it’s no surprise that coconut oil is good for the brain. One of the best things it does is fight inflammation. It helps with memory loss and kills bad bacteria. Use it in place of butter or use it in place of vegetable oil when baking. The sky really is the limit when it comes to coconut oil! 

5. Dark chocolate

That’s right – chocolate makes the list – but not just ANY chocolate. In fact, most of the chocolate calling your name from the grocery store checkout aisle is not the kind of chocolate that will boost your brain. The darker the chocolate, the better. Dark chocolate is packed with flavonols, known to improve blood flow to the heart and to the brain. Look for chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, and the less processed, the better.

6. Eggs

Eggs are believed to help delay shrinkage of the brain. Specifically, they reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. And since homocysteine is associated with stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, eating eggs is a brain boosting decision. Bonus: Don’t skip the egg yolks which are known to boost your happiness hormones!

7. Green, leafy veggies

Growing evidence suggests that green, leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce, kale and swiss chard aid in keeping dementia away. And with so many fun, healthy recipes, eating green, leafy vegetables no longer needs to be a chore! Look for kale chips or add veggies to your salad. Reap the benefits of some of the best available food in the world.

8. Nuts

Speaking of green, leafy vegetables, nuts, along with veggies, are known to be a good source of vitamin E and are an active participant in the fight against cognitive decline. Eat nuts as a snack or toss them on your salad. 

9. Tomatoes

Due to the presence of lycopene (a natural antioxidant discovered in tomatoes), scientists believe tomatoes can be a powerful ally in the battle against dementia – and specifically Alzheimer’s. Eat them by themselves or add them to any number of recipes to help protect against free radical damage.  

10. Whole grains

It is no secret that whole grains are a healthy choice, but did you know they also improve focus and strengthen concentration? That’s right! Whole grains are a brain boosting food. Whenever possible, choose whole grain bread, cereal, rice or pasta – and brown is best!  

A healthy diet is just one part of an overall physical and mental wellness program. To learn more about how The Villa at Florham Park is incorporating brain-boosting foods into their dining programs, please visit us today!