June is National Brain Awareness Month – a time to focus on the amazing capabilities of the human brain. The brain is the most complex organ in the body, communicating throughout the body through nerves and synapses. Divided into four lobes (frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal), different areas of the brain specialize in different processes such as mood, memory, problem solving, handwriting, and motor function.
The more we can care for and support the cognitive and memory function of the brain, the fuller and richer our lives will be, especially as we age. Keep reading to learn more about the brain as well as which supplements you can take to keep it healthy.
Healthy Brain Function
In order to function, the brain must be supplied with a steady stream of oxygen and nutrients through the blood. Three main arteries supply blood to different parts of the brain, all of which get a steady blood supply to ensure proper support. The more you can enrich your diet with brain-friendly nutrients, the better supplied your brain is to do its job. Stimulants like caffeine can increase certain brain functions, while depressants such as alcohol can slow things down.
Foods for Brain Support
It’s always best to get what your body needs through a balanced, healthy diet, you can boost brain health with foods that support strong cognitive function. Here are our top picks for brain foods.
Fatty fish such as tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The unsaturated fats in fish have been shown to lower your levels of beta-amyloid, a protein that may increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These same healthy fats can also be found in flax seed, which can be added to baked goods and smoothies.
Veggies such as spinach, collard greens, kale, and broccoli are packed with nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene – all of which support brain health. Some studies show that incorporating these veggies into your diet may help slow cognitive decline.
Sweet and easy to snack on, berries like blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries contain colorful flavonoids that have been shown to increase memory function. Research shows that including two or more servings of berries into your diet each week may stave off memory decline by 2.5 years.
Supplements to Support Brain Health
In addition to a diet rich in brain boosting foods, these nutritional supplements for brain health may also help support memory function.
Fish Oil Supplements
If you don’t like fish or don’t always have time to grill salmon or tuna steaks, a fish oil supplement can ensure you get enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Looking for a good fish oil supplement? Try QUELL Fish Oil EFA Plus from Douglas Labs.
The Ginkgo biloba tree contains certain properties that may help support brain and memory function, especially during aging. Studies show that ginkgo may also have a positive effect on other cognitive dysfunctions such as headache, mood disturbances, and focusing issues. Want to try Ginkgo Biloba for yourself? Check out Ginkgo Biloba 50 from Pure Encapsulations.
Vitamin D Supplements
Low levels of vitamin D may be related to a host of health issues, including a reduction in cognitive function. If your blood work shows a vitamin D deficiency, your doctor may recommend a vitamin D supplement like Vitamin D3 from NOW Foods.
How do you support healthy brain function? What supplements do you take? Which foods do you add to your diet? Share your experiences and advice with us in the comments section below.