We all know that we should not smoke to prevent lung cancer. If we consume too much alcohol, our liver will suffer. Drinking less water puts our kidney health at risk. But do we know what we need to eat in order to protect our brain, which governs our entire body and organs, and which is the basis of the mind, and to improve its functions?
Factors such as stress, air pollution, and malnutrition can negatively affect our brain, weaken our memory, or make it difficult to focus on a task. Nutrition and Diet Specialist Dilan Eker draws attention to the importance of a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and containing healthy fats for a strong brain and memory.
He lists 8 foods that make them brain-friendly due to the nutrients they contain as follows.
It is known that cocoa and chocolate increase the production of serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone. At the same time, cocoa, rich in flavonoids that support the brain and cognitive functions, contributes to strengthening short-term memory in addition to the learning and memory functions of the brain. Research shows that the flavonoids in cocoa may help improve memory and slow age-related mental decline. In order to benefit from these features, you should leave white and milk chocolates aside and prefer dark chocolates containing at least 70 percent cocoa or cocoa powder itself.
Stating that bone broth prepared with the right technique is another nutrient that can support the immune system and brain health, Nutrition and Dietetic Specialist Dilan Eker continues: “Bone broth with its collagen and hyaluronic acid content helps to reduce oxidative stress. It also contributes to the improvement of the brain and connective tissue with the amino acids proline and gricin. It is possible to support brain health by adding rosemary, onion and garlic to bone broth with high nutritional value, which can be obtained by boiling the marrow bones for at least 12 hours over low heat. You can consume bone broth by keeping it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
With its active ingredient called “curcumin”, turmeric is a powerful and natural antioxidant. This root plant, which has been used for therapeutic purposes throughout history, helps oxygenate the brain, learn and process information. In order to take full advantage of the curcumin found in turmeric, it is necessary to expose the turmeric oil to mild heat. Sauteing your vegetable or meat dishes with vegetable oil and turmeric is an ideal method for this. In the use of a food supplement containing curcumin, you should take care to choose the ones with high absorption and compliance with the standards.
Egg is a miraculous food that contains nutrients associated with brain health in a small shell. Especially egg yolk is a rich source of B group vitamins, folic acid and choline, which are important for supporting brain functions and development and regulating mood. Eggs also stand out with their ability to break down choline into betaine, a chemical that produces hormones related to happiness.
Oily fish, a source of omega-3 fatty acids, is perhaps one of the most important nutrients in improving memory and increasing brain power. Omega-3 fatty acids encourage the electrical signal between nerve cells, allowing the brain to communicate better and faster. It also helps improve mental concentration and memory. For adequate Omega-3 intake, it is necessary to consume preferably small and surface fish 2 or 3 times a week during the season and to avoid high temperature frying. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends taking Omega 3 supplements in cases where fish consumption is insufficient.
Oilseeds fully deserve the “brain-friendly” designation. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, flax seeds and black cumin, which are very rich in healthy fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, contain especially high levels of vitamin E. Vitamin E, with its high antioxidant capacity, protects cell membranes from free radicals and slows mental decline. There are countless benefits when you consume the oil seeds, which are one step ahead of the walnut with their high Omega-3 content necessary for brain health, as much as 1 palm a day and raw.
green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, arugula, dill and parsley, which are rich in vitamins A and K, are great foods that support not only the brain but also the intestines, which is called the ‘second brain’, with their pulp and high antioxidant content. At the same time, green leafy vegetables, which are a source of vitamin C and fiber, also help protect the brain against damage with their anti-inflammatory properties. A bowl of green leafy vegetables provides the full recommended daily intake of vitamins C and K. It should not be forgotten that consuming green leafy vegetables raw or lightly cooking – for example, steaming – will prevent vitamin loss.
Blueberries and other dark berry fruits are very potent foods with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, just like green leafy vegetables. Antioxidants fight against oxidative stress, which paves the way for aging of the brain and neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, it has been shown that blueberries can improve signal transmission between brain cells with the antioxidants in it. Blueberries also help improve memory and delay short-term memory loss. Nutrition and Diet Specialist Dilan Eker says, “You can also benefit from dark-colored strawberry fruits, which are recommended to be eaten fresh in season, by consuming them frozen or dried out of season.”