Blueberries help improve and regenerate cognitive functions because of the polyphenolic compounds present in the fruit. Their antioxidants help the body cells from damaging effects of oxidation. The ellagitannin chemicals in our hippocampus (brain’s memory control center) decline as we grow older. Because blueberry contains large amount of ellagetannins, eating this fruit will help improve our memory. Blueberry also contain proanthocyanins, which enhance spatial memory. Its seeds have omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for brain growth and function.
Dementia is linked to long-term inflammation in the body. Cherry possesses anti-inflammatory properties that work like pain medications but without side effects due to the chemical anthocyanin. This chemical also gives the cherries their bright red color.
The journal of Alzheimer's disease (September 2009 issue) published a research about the advantages of eating grapes regularly because of polyphenols. These organic chemical compounds are believed to protect against the formation of beta-amyloid, a toxic protein that forms in the brains of those who have Alzheimer's, which may be responsible for some of the disease’s damaging effects. Significant level of polyphenols can be reached after 10 days of continuous ingestion of grapes.
Avocados contain folate which is essential for brain health and maintenance of cognitive function, including memory. Folate deficiency may lead to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. Half an avocado contains 61 micrograms of folate. The recommended dietary allowance is 400 micrograms for both men and women. Major birth defects, especially of the brain and spine are associated with inadequate folate intake. Women of childbearing age need folate at the beginning of their pregnancy for their child to be born healthy. Avocados can also lower blood pressure which is good for cognitive ability.
Quercitin, which is abundant in the apple skin has been found to protect the brain from damages associated with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. It has been shown to protect the brain from oxidative injury. Phenolic acids and different flavonoids in the apple protect the brain against damage caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi. Researchers add that eating apples can do wonders for us.
Lycopene is a fat-soluble phytonutrient in tomatoes. It helps protect vital brain fat and helps stop the buildup of pro-inflammatory compounds linked to depression. Lycopene is in the tomato skin. Researchers suggest to go for cherry tomatoes because when you talk about skin area, you eat more skin in three cherry tomatoes than eating a big one. Drizzling olive oil over your cherry tomatoes helps your body absorb more lycopene because of the oil’s healthy fats.
Strawberries are rich in iodine, which is very helpful for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.
Tryptophan is what makes asparagus a brain food. Tryptophan serves as a basis for the production of serotonin, one of the brains primary mood-regulating neurotransmitters. This high-prized vegetable has also high levels of folate which is a “happiness-promoting profile.” Research has shown that up to 50 percent of people with depression suffer from low folate levels. Like tryptophan, it’s a necessary fator of creating neurotransmitters.