Resveratrol is a natural non-flavonoid antioxidant found in peanuts, mulberries, and rhubarb. Evidence from a review article suggests that resveratrol can have protective effects, such as helping to prevent cancers , inflammation, and neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. They are a good source of the following B vitamins:.
Recent research suggests that these vitamins may prevent brain shrinkage and delay cognitive decline. Broccoli is rich in compounds called glucosinolates. When the body breaks these down, they produce isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates may reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Broccoli also contains vitamin C and flavonoids, and these antioxidants can further boost a person's brain health.
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Other cruciferous vegetables that contain glucosinolates include :. Like broccoli, kale contains glucosinolates, and leafy greens also contain other key antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This is why many consider kale to be a superfood. Research has linked polyphenols with a reduced risk of dementia and improved cognitive abilities in regular aging processes.
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Soy products contain polyphenols called isoflavones, including daidzein and genistein. These chemicals act as antioxidants, providing a range of health benefits throughout the body. In addition to making dietary changes, some people consider taking supplements to improve their brain function. But do these supplements actually work? Taking vitamins B, C, or E, beta-carotene , or magnesium may improve brain function if a person has a deficiency in any of them.
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If a person does not have a deficiency, these supplements are unlikely to improve mental performance. Research suggests that taking ginseng may improve this performance. However, further studies are needed before doctors can recommend ginseng to enhance brain function. The foods listed above may help improve a person's memory and concentration. Some may also reduce the risk of stroke and age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Some of the foods contain compounds such as healthful fatty acids, which can help improve the structure of brain cells called neurons.
Other compounds, such as sugars and saturated fats, may damage brain cell structures. Article last reviewed by Wed 19 December All references are available in the References tab. Amen, D. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease , 58 4 , — Andrade, S. Resveratrol brain delivery for neurological disorders prevention and treatment. Frontiers in Pharmacology , 9. Basic report: , egg, whole, cooked, poached. Berk, L. Berk, R. Chang, D. Scientific Reports , 8 , Cruciferous vegetables. Giacoppo, S. Fitorerapia , , 12— Gomez-Pinilla, F.
12 foods to boost brain function
How does the brain use food as energy? Healthy fat choices. High blood pressure is linked to cognitive decline. Huang, Z. Roles of adenosine and its receptors in sleep-wake regulation [Abstract].
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The impact of diet and exercise on brain plasticity and disease.
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Appraising the brain's energy budget. PNAS , 99 16 , — Smith, A. Homocysteine-lowering by B vitamins slows the rate of accelerated brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment: A randomized controlled trial. PLOS One. Subash, S. Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. Neural Regeneration Research , 15 9 , — Three of the B vitamins: Folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B Villarreal-Garcia, D. Glucosinolates from broccoli: Nutraceutical properties and their purification.
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