Whether you are looking for better memory, greater focus or an ability to learn faster, eating more fruit may give your brain a boost. Certain fruits are packed with nutrients that can help your brain work more efficiently. To get the most benefit, choose fresh organic fruit whenever possible. The second best choice is frozen fruit. Eat fruit alone – apart from other food – to get optimum utilization of nutrients.
Blueberries and Strawberries
All berries are rich in potent antioxidants known as polyphenols, which help reduce inflammation and improve nerve connections between brain cells. These nerve connections enable your brain cells to communicate with each other and thus help you learn new things and process information quickly and accurately. Blueberries and strawberries have high levels of antioxidants. One study by Harvard researchers, published in 2012 in "Annals of Neurology," showed that eating berries could help prevent brain degeneration and memory decline.
Acai and Goji Berries
Acai berries are not only powerful antioxidants, but they also contain high levels of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, which improve blood circulation. Better blood flow means more oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. Omega fatty acids promote normal brain development, reduce inflammation, improve blood circulation and help prevent mood disorders. Goji berries, also called wolfberries, contain compounds rich in vitamin A and other antioxidants to boost immunity. According to a 2010 study published in the "Journal of Alzheimer's Disease," goji berries may help protect against Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases.
Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant required for numerous metabolic functions in the body, including brain and nerve function. Excellent sources of vitamin C are found in oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes, as well as kiwis, pineapple, mangos, strawberries and cantaloupe. Vitamin C is also known to help with memory and reasoning. Since the body cannot manufacture vitamin C, it must be obtained through foods or supplements.
Eating an apple a day is not only good for your overall health, it is good for your brain in particular. Apples contain quercetin, a potent plant chemical that can help protect brain cells and the delicate outer membrane of nerve cells from free-radical damage, which can lead to the decline of concentration, cognitive function and memory. The highest concentration of quercetin is in the apple skin and just below it, so it is best not to peel your fruit.
Yes, the avocado is a fruit, even though it is often mistaken for a vegetable. In addition to being high in vitamin C, the avocado is a good source of omega-3 fats and vitamin E, all of which are essential for good circulation. Foods that improve blood flow are also good for the brain. Avocados are high in folate, a brain food needed for energy production and the formation of red blood cells. Folate is especially important if you become pregnant, since it helps regulate fetal nerve cell formation and brain development.
- CBSNews.com: Eating Blueberries and Strawberries Staves Off Memory Decline, Study Suggests
- Global Healing Center: Foods, Vitamins & Herbs That Boost Your Brain Power
- Journal of Alzheimer's Disease: Neuroprotective Effects of Polysaccharides from Wolfberry, the Fruits of Lycium Barbarum, Against Homocysteine-Induced Toxicity in Rat Cortical Neurons
- ScienceDaily: Eating Berries May Activate the Brain's Natural Housekeeper for Healthy Aging
Nancy Hearn is a certified health and nutrition consultant, fitness adviser and yoga instructor. She also has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her articles appear on various health- and fitness-related websites, as well as in "Natural Life News and Directory" magazine in Montana. Hearn attended San Diego Miramar College and the Global College of Natural Medicine.