Chocolate is a Brain Food and Four Others You Need to Know

May 23, 2014

Who doesn’t want to stay sharp and feel great at the same time? Find out SupermarketGuru's top five brain boosting foods here...

Who doesn’t want to stay sharp and feel great at the same time? Here are SupermarketGuru’s top five picks for brain boosting foods you can find in your local supermarket.

Berries. Berries contain flavonoids, which are plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to a study published in the Annals of Neurology berries contain the flavonoid anthocyanidin, which can cross the blood into the brain's hippocampus, which is involved in learning and memory. Women with the highest intake of blueberries and/or strawberries showed about one and half to two and half years of delays in cognitive aging; i.e. thinking, remembering, and reasoning. So how many berries should we eat to prevent cognitive decline? The women who ate the most berries were eating a half-cup of blueberries or two half-cup servings of strawberries a week. Now that’s encouraging!

Herbs And Spices. Next time you're whipping up a meal, turn to your spice rack for an extra brain boost. Spices and herbs may do more for your health than you realize; they are packed with nutrition! According to Dr. Daniel Amen, cinnamon balances blood sugar; garlic, oregano and rosemary increase blood flow to the brain; curry acts as an anti-inflammatory; and saffron can have anti-depressant effects

Good Fats. Don't be tricked by fat-free. Instead, focus on incorporating good fats every day. In fact, if your cholesterol drops too low, you may be at greater risk for depression, according to Dr. Amen and several studies on low cholesterol. So what exactly are good fats? Focus on foods rich in omega-3s to promote brain health, including almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax, salmon, sardines, avocados and green leafy vegetables.

Cruciferous Vegetables. Adding foods like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts could have great brain health benefits. These vegetables pack serious antioxidant power, which helps protect the brain. A Harvard Medical School study found that women who ate more of these veggies lowered their brain age by one to two years.

Quality Chocolate. A study from researchers based at Reading University's School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences in the UK (published in Scientific American)  found that consuming cocoa flavanols may improve aspects of eye and brain function. The study looked at acute intake of cocoa flavanols and then tested the subject's vision and cognitive performance and found that both were improved.