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3 Foods Linked to Better Cognitive Functioning

Leafy Greens

Photo by Jakub Kapusnak on Foodiesfeed

Leafy greens, including kale, spinach, collards and broccoli, are rich in brain-healthy nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta carotene. 

One of vitamin K’s major functions is to regulate calcium in bones and in the brain. In one study from the University of North Carolina, scientists discovered that low levels of this vitamin contribute to dysregulated calcium in the brain, causing damage done to the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. By ingesting more vitamin K, one can help to prevent Alzheimer’s. Research further suggests that plant-based foods may help to slow cognitive decline. 

Many studies have found that a lutein-rich brain improves many cognitive functions such as verbal fluency, executive function, memory, recall and reaction time. This reaction time helps with communication between the eye and the brain, making it especially beneficial for athletes

Folate is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B9. An important function of this vitamin is the formation of neurotransmitters. A lack of folate relates to depression and cognitive decline. In fact, two-thirds of folate-deficient adults have neuropsychological disorders. This is especially important for pregnant women as folate deficiency can increase the risk of birth defects. 

An antioxidant nutrient, known as beta-carotene, helps to protect the brain against mental decline. In one longitudinal study, men who took high-dose beta-carotene supplements for an average of 18 years had less cognitive decline and sharper memory skills compared to their age-matched peers who have taken the placebo.  

All in all, these four nutrients found in leafy greens can help slow your mental decline and preserve a younger mind… Go consume your greens!

Fatty Fish

Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

Fatty fish is known for its high sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They are healthy, unsaturated fats that decrease the beta-amyloid protein in the blood. This protein is what causes damaging clumps in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. By ingesting omega-3 fatty acids, you can help lower your chances of receiving Alzheimer’s! On the other hand, if you’re not a fan of fish, you can incorporate flax seeds, avocados and walnuts into your diet to receive the same omega-3 fatty acids! 


Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

Berries contain a nutrient known as a flavonoid. Flavonoids provide neuroprotective actions for the brain, including protecting neurons against injury caused by neurotoxins, suppressing neuroinflammation, and promoting memory, learning and cognitive function. In fact, researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital discovered that women who consumed two or more servings of berries each week had better memory for up to two-and-a-half years compared to women who did not. Therefore, if you want to delay your memory decline, eat your berries!

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I am in forth year, BMOS and Psychology. I am passionate about health and fitness.