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Health and Wellbeing

Foods linked to better brainpower!

By CollegeHallRAs 25 Jan 2023

Ever heard of the saying 'you are what you eat'? The saying goes for your brain too: a healthy diet is linked to a healthy brain! In this brief article, I will list some foods that have been linked to improving brain function.

1. Fatty fish

When it comes to the so-called 'brain foods', fatty fish is often at the top of the list. This includes fish like salmon, sardines and herring, as they are all great sources of omega-3-fatty acids. Fun fact, about 60% of your brain is made of fat and 50% of this fat is comprised of omega-3-fatty acids. These omega-3-fatty acids are used to build brain and nerve cells which are essential for learning and memory - definitely needed as a student! So why not incorporate a bit of fatty fish into your diet, I know I certainly will!



2.  Blueberries 

Blueberries and other deeply-coloured berries contain anthocyanins which are a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Inflammation and oxidative stress contribute to brain ageing and neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia. Also, some of the antioxidants that are found in blueberries have been proven to accumulate in the brain and improve the synaptic connection between nerve cells (Kalt et al., 2020). I like my blueberries sprinkled over some greek-yoghurt with a drizzle of honey, but they can equally be enjoyed alone!



3. Dark chocolate 

I had to include a treat: last but by no means least, dark chocolate! Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are full of flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants - all of which have been shown to have brain-boosting properties. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant and they tend to gather in brain areas that are responsible for learning and memory. According to a study in just under 1,000 people, those who ate chocolate more frequently, compared to those who rarely ate it, performed much better in a mental tasks (Crichton G E, et al. 2016). Unfortunately these benefits are limited to chocolate with a 70% or greater cocoa content, but do treat yourself to regular milk or white chocolate now and again - it definitely won't hurt!









I hope you enjoyed this brief article! Stay tuned for the next one where I will be going through some drinks that have been shown to better brain health. 



References:

Kalt W, Cassidy A, Howard LR, Krikorian R, Stull AJ, Tremblay F, Zamora-Ros R. Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins. Adv Nutr. 2020 Mar 1;11(2):224-236. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmz065. PMID: 31329250; PMCID: PMC7442370.

Crichton GE, Elias MF, Alkerwi A. Chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Appetite. 2016 May 1;100:126-32. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.02.010. Epub 2016 Feb 10. PMID: 26873453.