5 superfoods that are good for your mental and cognitive health: Superfoods like dark chocolate enhance cognitive performance and guard against depressive symptoms. Researchers and experts have found that a number of superfoods enhance cognitive performance and guard against depressive symptoms.
Dark chocolate is a superfood that can improve cognitive performance and lessen the risk of depression. Leafy greens delay the aging process of the brain. Let’s examine five superfoods and the advantages to mental and brain health that experts claim they provide.
1. Leafy greens like kale can prevent cognitive deterioration.
Kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are a few examples of dark, leafy greens that are good for the brain and can prevent cognitive deterioration. A regular intake of leafy, dark greens can improve mood, memory, mental response time, decision-making, and other cognitive processes.
According to a 2018 study, those who consume one daily serving of green leafy vegetables see a slower loss in cognitive abilities including memory. These findings were published in the journal Neurology.
Nearly a thousand senior citizens without dementia were observed by researchers for an average of five years. They discovered that people who consumed at least one serving of leafy green vegetables every day had cognitive abilities that were roughly 11 years younger than those who ate dark leafy greens infrequently or never.
According to Martha Morris, senior author of the study and researcher on diet and brain health at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, “It’s almost unbelievable,” she said. The consumption of these leafy greens was independently linked to a slower rate of cognitive aging. That means this particular food group has so many nutrients that they might even protect the brain.
2. Dark chocolate can lessen the symptoms of depression
Although dark chocolate is typically thought of as a treat, it also has a lot of health advantages. Iron, magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants are all abundant in it. Additionally, dark chocolate can enhance brain function.
A 2020 study discovered that young individuals’ cognitive performance and neuroplasticity can be improved by consuming high-flavanol cocoa (70% dark chocolate or more). Also thought of be a neurodegenerative illness and cognitive decline preventive, dark chocolate.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fish.
Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, including salmon, tuna, trout, and anchovies, provide a number of health advantages for the body, including bettering brain function.
A recent study found that middle-aged adults with diets high in omega-3 fatty acids had greater hippocampal volumes; the hippocampus is a critical component of the brain that aids in memory and learning. These adults were better able to comprehend abstract ideas.
4. Consuming nuts reduces the incidence of depression
A daily handful of nuts is associated with a decreased risk of developing depression. According to a recent study in the journal Clinical Nutrition, eating a handful of nuts every day is associated with a 17% decreased risk of depression.
Researchers discovered that eating 30 grams of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews, and Brazil nuts, reduced the risk of taking antidepressants and developing depression among middle-aged and older adults.
Additionally linked to a beneficial effect on memory and brain health is a daily intake of almonds. A 2023 study found that eating 60 grams of nuts daily—roughly half a cup of almonds—improved verbal memory and blood flow to the brain.
5. Berries enhance mental performance
Flavonoids, which are abundant in berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, are known to assist in boosting memory and decrease age-related cognitive decline, according to Scientific American.
Dr. Uma Naidoo, director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, advised the American Association of Retired Persons that one of the simplest and earliest changes one can make to improve brain health is consuming more berries.
Just a few handfuls of wild blueberries each day, according to King’s College London research, can enhance cognitive function. Researchers discovered that those who ingested wild blueberry powder over the course of 12 weeks had better memories and were more accurate with their attention.
According to Professor Claire Williams, head of the Neuroscience Department at the University of Reading, according to King’s College, “It is clear from this study that eating wild blueberries is beneficial to cognitive function.”
When performing cognitive activities, the group that had the wild blueberry powder showed signs of better memory and greater mental flexibility.