Feeling sluggish? Finding it hard to concentrate for long periods of time? It could be down to what you’re eating.
We all know that nutrition is hugely important to how your body functions. You get out what you put in, so what you eat can have a massive effect on how you feel both physically and mentally.
The brain is the most vital organ in the body and it's important to give it the fuel it needs to function at its best.
These foods are among the "brain superfoods" reported to boost your cognitive function.
Blueberries have been considered a great "brain food" for a while now. They're high in vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, fibre, and other antioxidants. A number of studies in the USA seem to conclude that blueberries protect the brain from the effects of aging and improve spatial learning and memory. While these studies are only based on small animal samples and not definitive, the low-calorie-high-nutrient nature of the berries means it's definitely worth having a handful!
Nuts are a well-known source of vitamin E, which is good for your skin as well as your brain. A study led by the University of California found that a few walnuts a day could help to boost your memory. A plant based omega-3 fatty acid found in the nuts is thought to be good for brain health.
Tomatoes are one of your five-a-day and also contain an antioxidant called "lycopene" which, some evidence suggests, protects against the cell damage that occurs in dementia. They're also packed with vitamin C and are a highly versatile cooking ingredient.
4. Oily fish
If you're a meat eater, one of the easiest ways to get your essential fatty acids is to fill up on oily fish. This includes mackerel, trout, salmon and sardines. These fish provide omega-3 fats which are important for healthy brain function and the heart. Plant based alternatives include pumpkin seeds and soya beans.
Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K and Iron. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and is also thought to keep bones healthy. Researchers have also reported that compounds found in broccoli can help with the function of the central nervous system. The Iron in broccoli can help combat tiredness, as it is important in making the red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body.
6. Whole Grains
Eating brown rice or bread instead of its white counterpart is a really easy swap you can make to eat healthier. Whole grains are known to help with a slow release of energy and the brain relies on a steady flow of nutrients to make you feel good. If you have sugar highs and lows, these will inevitably affect your mood and concentration.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate seems to be a food that people either love or hate. If you love it, great news! It's actually good for you! Eating a daily portion of dark chocolate improves blood flow to the brain. There have also been studies that show cocoa to have a positive effect on verbal fluency and cognitive function in elderly people.
The millennial favourite makes the brain food list! Avocado is fatty, but the fats these popular snacks contain are healthy unsaturated fats. These fats apparently help keep brain membranes flexible. They're also high in vitamin E, which is good for skin, and fibre which is good for your digestive system.
While these "superfoods" are reported to improve your brainpower, it's important to remember that the key to overall health is a balanced diet. Looking after your body will help you look after your mind, and a well-rounded diet gives you the best chance of avoiding disease.