Did you know that the food you eat can have a significant impact on your brain health? Considered our body’s control centre, the brain must be provided with the right nutrients to ensure its proper functioning in the short and long term. Therefore, here’s an overnight oats recipe including a variety of foods with scientifically proven benefits. (For more info on the nutrition and brain health relationship, click here!)
Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.) are very rich in antioxidants. Studies show that antioxidants reduce oxidative stress (an aggression of the cell’s components by a free radical), which is considered a cause of cancer, as well as of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. Studies have also shown that berries change the way some of our brain’s neurons intercommunicate, thus reducing inflammation within our body, as well as improving our motor skills and cognition (1).
Dark chocolate is a great source of flavonoids, an antioxidant group. They’re mainly found in parts of our brain responsible for learning and memory. Therefore, scientists think eating dark chocolate regurlarly could help with improving our memory and reducing age-related cognitive decline (2).
Nuts and seeds are rich in antioxidants as well, but they’re also full of vitamin E (which is a type of antioxidant) and healthy fats! Several studies show that vitamin E shields our cells from free radicals, thus slowing down cognitive decline (3). Furthermore, some nuts and seed (such as walnuts, chia and flax seeds) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Those omega-3 help developing our cells’ protective membranes and also possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A study has even shown that people with more omega-3 in their blood had increased cerebral blood flow (4).
1. Subash S, Essa MM, Al-Adawi S, Memon MA, Manivasagam T, Akbar M. Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. Neural Regen Res. 2014;9(16):1557-1566. doi:10.4103/1673-5374.139483
2. Sokolov AN, Pavlova MA, Klosterhalfen S, Enck P. Chocolate and the brain: neurobiological impact of cocoa flavanols on cognition and behavior. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013;37(10 Pt 2):2445-2453. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.06.013
3. La Fata G, Weber P, Mohajeri MH. Effects of vitamin E on cognitive performance during ageing and in Alzheimer's disease. Nutrients. 2014;6(12):5453-5472. Published 2014 Nov 28. doi:10.3390/nu6125453
4. Amen DG, Harris WS, Kidd PM, Meysami S, Raji CA. Quantitative Erythrocyte Omega-3 EPA Plus DHA Levels are Related to Higher Regional Cerebral Blood Flow on Brain SPECT. J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;58(4):1189-1199. doi:10.3233/JAD-170281