A lot of oxygen is consumed by the brain due to it’s high metabolic activity, making it more prone to an attack by free radicals than any other part of the body

It is a medical fact that the volume of our brain and/or it’s weight shrinks with age. The rate of decline in cognitive function is about 5% every decade after the age of 40 and this rate of decline drops further and is noticeable after the age of 70. Besides the age factor, our stressful work environment and lifestyle also tax the brain and may cause burnout, anxiety & panic attacks. Certain neuro-degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis also impact brain function.

A lot of oxygen is consumed by the brain due to it’s high metabolic activity, making it more prone to an attack by free radicals than any other part of the body. One of the most common and severe attacks of free radicals on the brain is memory loss. This is where “Nootropics” come in the picture. Advanced researches in medical science proclaim nootropics as supplements and pills that have a unique property to help slow down the declining cognitive and brain power associated with aging.

Many of us may be averse to the idea of popping a supplement to enhance brain function besides taking the prescribed multivitamins and others. You may be relieved to know that there are certain foods that help amplify cognitive function and brain performance. Including these foods can ensure improved memory, focus and alertness.

Some example of nootropic foods are :

- Dark chocolate : The flavonols in dark chocolate(70% and higher) can ward off memory loss by increasing the blood flow to the brain and stimulate production of new brain cells.

-  Walnuts : It isn’t a coincidence that walnut resembles the brain and it’s significant Vit E content coats the cell membranes forming a protective shield against free radicals.

- Brightly colored Fruits & vegetables : Antioxidants and flavonoids are the nutrient armies that counter the free radical damage. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are huge reservoirs of these nutrients. The darker the colour, the higher the antioxidant content. One must aim at including at least 3-4 servings of these everyday. Examples include tomatoes, cherries, grapes, plums, pumpkins, squash, mangoes, mulberries, berries, purple cabbage, bell peppers, carrots and  leafy greens.(kale, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, etc)

- Eggs : One of the main sources of Choline, an essential nutrient  that forms the precursor to the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine which promotes communication in brain cells and helps keep memories intact.

- Green tea : Already known as a superfood for weight-loss with  anti-cancer properties, green tea is also anti-aging, both physically and mentally. Butterfly pea tea is another tea that has proven brain-boosting quality. Ever wondered, why having a cup of tea is so calming!

- Coconut Oil : An absolute brain food! The MCTs(medium chained triglycerides) in coconut oil stimulate production of ATP(the energy molecule that fuels the brain) in the liver.

- Turmeric : The magic compound Curcumin is well documented for it’s memory-enhancing, immunity boosting and attention improving properties. It is anti-inflammatory and also promotes youthfulness.

- Coffee : A well-known stimulant, just a whiff of freshly roasted/ brewed coffee is enough to help one feel more active and alert.

- Lemon : This one may come as a surprise to you. A good source of Vit C( a well-known antioxidant) and potassium(helps stimulate brain function), lemon can be enjoyed all through the year.

It is advisable to try and include 1-2 of these on a daily basis, after the age of 40 and specially for the elderly (above 65 years of age). They should be a part of a well-balanced diet that has an appropriate ratio of macro and micronutrients.

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