Unconcentrated, tired and just not in the right mood. This could be because your brain lacks important nutrients. Similar to sports, things don’t go so well up there when your energy stores are empty. Time for brain food. If you eat the right foods, you can not only give your brain a quick boost, but also sustainably improve memory performance.

What is Brainfood?

Brainfood is food that has a positive effect on your mental performance. In other words, everything that helps to provide your brain with optimal nutrition. So you can think better, are more concentrated and can absorb and link information faster. This requires the right nutrients. With the right energy sources and an optimal supply of nutrients, the connections between your brain and nerve cells simply work better. Brainfood also includes foods that protect your brain and keep it fit in the long term.

Why is Brainfood important?

After the heart, the brain is the second organ without which nothing would work. It is part of the nervous system and not just a storehouse of information. It processes all sensory perceptions, controls behavioral patterns and processes everything you take in in terms of information. At just 2 to 3 percent of your body weight, it doesn’t look like it’s working at its best. To make it all work, it needs a huge amount of energy – almost 20 percent of your daily energy consumption to be precise.

It becomes problematic when the brain does not get enough energy. If it lacks essential energy sources such as glucose, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals or trace elements, your cognitive performance suffers. This means that your brain can no longer work properly. Thinking becomes more difficult and you simply can’t remember certain things as well as before. So, in order not to lose anything of your mental fitness, you should take care to always provide your brain with enough brainfoods.

These nutrients are natural brain food

So to keep your brain working, you need to make sure you’re getting the right energy supplies. These nutrients matter:

Glucose: Glucose, or sugar, is high on the list. This explains why, when you sit at your desk a lot, you sometimes feel cravings for a candy bar. The brain demands quick energy. What seems obvious quickly ends up in a vicious cycle. Yes, the brain needs sugar, but not in the form of chocolate. Long-chain carbohydrates are better. This benefits the brain in the long term and sustainably.

Healthy fats: As part of the cell membrane, fat is an important component of the brain. But please stay away from bad fats. Unsaturated fatty acids, especially omega-3, should be included in the diet. The essential fatty acid is a building block of the nerve cell, an important structural fat in the brain and also involved in optimal transmission of stimuli.

Protein: Protein not only helps muscles grow, but is also indispensable for the brain. More precisely, amino acids, i.e. the smallest components of proteins. These are used, among other things, as building blocks for messenger substances that are needed for stimulus transmission. At the same time, they are key enzymes for energy production and can thus positively influence brain performance.

Vitamins: B vitamins in particular have made a name for themselves as nerve food or brain food. Among other things, they are an essential component of nerve and energy metabolism and can thus improve not only brain performance but also mood. Vitamins C, A and E make the brain work better because they act as antioxidants, protecting the brain from free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of metabolism that can cause mutations in DNA, increasing the risk of many diseases such as cancer.

Minerals and trace elements: Trace minerals are nutrients that you only need in tiny amounts, but that’s what matters. The same is true for minerals, but the body needs a bit more of them in terms of quantity. Magnesium, iron, iodine, and zinc are among the most important brain foods.

Water: Water is not a nutrient, but it is indispensable for your brain performance. Nothing works without sufficient liquid. It is urgently necessary for the transport of oxygen. If the brain lacks oxygen, you quickly become tired, unfocused and get headaches. Therefore, sufficient fluid is an absolute must. More precisely, this means at least two to three liters daily. The best thing to do is to put the water bottle right by your desk to remind yourself again and again.

What foods are good for the brain?

Long-chain carbohydrates for a long-lasting energy supply, healthy fats for strong nerves, essential amino acids that improve sleep or reduce inflammation, or vitamins that even protect against Alzheimer’s disease. The effects of food for the brain are manifold.

1. Olives and olive oil to protect brain cells

If you want to stay fit for a long time, you should make friends with the Mediterranean cuisine. At least that’s what many US studies. Olives and olive oil are an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, along with lots of fruit and vegetables. They score not only in terms of healthy fats, but also contain a crucial nutrient.

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, protecting your cells from free radicals. This is exactly what it does in your brain. Vitamin E ensures that the brain cells are not damaged and lose their efficiency. Regularly snacking on a few olives can therefore help to keep your brain fit in the longer term too.

2. Chickpeas ensure a restful sleep

Chickpeas contain the amino acid tryptophan. As a precursor of the happiness hormone serotonin, tryptophan ensures good mood, improves concentration and increases thinking ability.

Tryptophan maintains serotonin levels during the day. This is important so that melatonin can be produced in the evening when you want to sleep. The hormone ensures a restful sleep. Sleep is urgently needed so that your brain can perform at its best again the next day. Since chickpeas also contain long-chain carbohydrates and lots of protein, they provide the brain with long-lasting and sustained energy.

3. Raw cacao boosts thinking power

Cocoa is said to not only boost memory, but also protect against age-related memory loss. This is due to nutrients that stimulate blood circulation in the brain. Raw cacao is particularly rich in these nutrients.

In addition, cacao is extremely rich in flavonoids. These secondary plant compounds protect the brain cells from harmful free radicals through their antioxidant effect. So eating cocoa is worthwhile. But not necessarily in the form of chocolate. Depending on the variety, there are far too much sugar and fat in it. The better alternative: Cocoa nibs, broken cocoa beans, the perfect snack for in between meals.

4. Blueberries keep your brain cells fit

The good news: our local fruits are at least as good as exotic goji, acai or chokeberry. What they all have in common: many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These protect your cells, prevent cell aging and keep your brain fit. Especially wild blueberries are rich in secondary plant compounds. But if they are not in season, you can find them frozen and freshly harvested in the freezer all year round.

5. With cabbage against Alzheimer’s

Kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, red cabbage and broccoli are real power foods for brain performance. They are even said to be able to prevent Alzheimer’s. This is due to the sulforaphane it contains, a secondary plant substance that is found in particularly large quantities in cabbage. In the meantime there are even Chinese studies, that deal with the effects of sulforaphane. The studies show that the secondary plant substance supports the degradation of beta-amyloid and tau protein. Both are proteins that are no longer broken down due to faulty reactions and can be deposited in nerve cells and destroy them, as is the case with Alzheimer’s disease.

6. Cod keeps your brain young

A Swedish study gives hope that the right diet can even prevent diseases such as Parkinson’s. Eating fish regularly should help. In addition to omega-3-rich fish such as mackerel, salmon or herring, cod should also land on your plate from time to time.

Cod contains the protein pavalbumin, which is said to protect against nerve disorders. Cod contains omega-3 and is rich in vitamin D.

7. Nuts, the classic brain food

Nuts contain good fats and important minerals that boost brain power. Since omega-3 is a component of the nerve cells in the brain, the healthy fat is essential to keep the communication between brain cells running – and can even increase memory capacity.

Walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are particularly rich in B vitamins. They contain a whole range of vitamins, all of which are involved in nerve and energy metabolism. A US study shows that walnuts in particular keep the brain fit for a long time.

8. Tempeh for better memory

Tempeh is made from pressed soybeans. This makes it not only a good source of protein, but also a high-quality brain food. Soybeans contain the essential nutrient choline. This is needed in many places in the organism. Choline plays a particularly important role for the brain, as it is needed to produce acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is responsible for the transmission of stimuli between the brain cells and affects your memory performance. In addition, choline is also needed for DNA construction and brain development.

9. Dried fruits push your thinking performance

Instead of chocolate and cookies, which contain simple sugars and thus only provide your brain with energy for a short time, you should rather snack on dried fruit. They also provide sugar, but in the form of fructose, which is bound to fiber. Your body needs at least a little longer to utilize it. Dried fruits are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Apricots, figs, dates and cranberries are therefore a healthy alternative to classic sweets. Only the calories of dried fruit are high.

Brainfood has it all. These foods provide your brain with the nutrients it needs. So that nothing stands in the way of your mental peak performance.