7 Healthy Foods that Will Make You Smarter [LIST]

Include these super foods in your diet and you will be a genius in no time!

Sep 2, 2014

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Sticking to a healthy diet isn't just for those who want to keep in shape. Eating the right foods can also affect the way your brain works. Here are 7 super foods that you should be including in your diet if you want to improve your cognitive performance.

1. TURMERIC

THE SCIENCE: As well as having hundreds of therapeutic uses, this exotic spice also helps boost memory and stimulate the production of new brain cells. The anti-inflammatory antioxidant curcumin, which has also been proven to calm inflammation of brain and nerve cells, is what makes the magic happen. As if that wasn't enough, the clever chemical has another trick up its sleeve - it helps inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids in the brain of Alzheimer's patients.
TASTY TIP: Turmeric is a key ingredient in Indian curry so why not rustle up a tasty traditional dish with loads of fresh veggies and rice.

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2. ALMONDS

THE SCIENCE: High in vitamin E, almonds protect the brain from age-related damage and improve learning and memory skills. The tasty nuts also contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that boost brain activity.
TASTY TIP: Dry roasted almonds work as a delicious snack or as a crunchy upgrade sprinkled on the the top of a fresh salad.

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3. BLUEBERRIES

THE SCIENCE: Research has found a link between a diet rich in blueberries and faster learning, sharper thinking, and improved memory retention. The antioxidants and other phytochemicals found in the super berry also have the power to clear free radicals and reduce stress. Add to that the fact that blueberries delay short term memory loss and you've got yourself a pretty impressive little fruit.
TASTY TIP: Simply take a handful and munch away while at work, or if you really fancy a treat, why not bake some fresh whole wheat blueberry muffins.

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4. WHOLE GRAINS

THE SCIENCE: Whole grains help keep the brain nice and healthy because they are rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and some omega 3 fatty acids that prevent damaging sugar spikes and blood clots. Whole grains with a low-GI, such as barley and bulgur, release glucose slowly into the bloodstream which leads to an adequate, steady supply of energy to the brain, helping to keep you mentally alert and in a good mood.
TASTY TIP: Whole grains should be soaked to unlock all their nutritional power and a great way to get your fix is with a creamy vegetable soup complete with whole barley.

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5. AVOCADO

THE SCIENCE: A great source of omega 3, omega 6 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, avocados help increase blood flow to the brain. The vitamin E in avocados also protects the body and the brain from free radical damage.
TASTY TIP: For a light refreshing snack, chop up some avocado and watermelon and then top with mint and chives.

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6. CHICKPEAS

THE SCIENCE: Combining complex carbohydrates to fuel your brain as well as protein to keep you alert, chickpeas are ideal for cognitive health. They are loaded with magnesium, which plays a key role in energy metabolism that benefits brain cell receptors to speed the transmission of messages. Magnesium also helps relax blood vessels, allowing more blood flow to the brain.
TASTY TIP: Grind some chickpeas with fresh lemon juice, tahini, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and water for a delicious homemade hummus.

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7. DARK CHOCOLATE

THE SCIENCE: Everyone's favorite guilty pleasure is actually much better for you than you might think. The flavonols found in chocolate improve blood flow to the brain, which in turn improves cognitive function and memory. On top of that, cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason cocoa can improve brain function in the short term.
TASTY TIP: The darker the chocolate is, the better it is for you, so when treating yourself to a bar look out for one with a high cocoa percentage.

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