* Bananas are high in potassium, which helps the brain transmit messages.
Other foods that promote premium brain function include salmon, walnuts, flax seeds, and squash due to their high Omega and nutrient content.
Bananas might be the world’s most perfect brain food. By supplying nutrients essential for proper neurological functioning, bananas help the brain regulate moods and appetite while also supporting important cognitive functions like focus and memory. Per U.S. Department of Agriculture figures, one medium-size banana provides 0.43 mg B-6, 422 mg potassium, 32 mg magnesium, 29 g carbohydrates and 3.1 g fiber.
Mood-boosting BenefitsBananas are a great “mood food” as they help your brain produce chemicals that promote good mental health. Bananas provide the essential amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine, which are precursors to the mood-regulating neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Additionally, bananas are a rich source of both vitamin B-6 and carbohydrates, which also help your brain make these important neurochemicals. Serotonin and dopamine are essential for numerous aspects of brain functioning, including preventing depression and providing feelings of pleasure. Yet another “happy” nutrient found in bananas is magnesium, which the brain needs to offset stress.
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The nutrients in bananas also support normal cognitive functioning in terms of focus and memory. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, which helps deliver oxygen to the brain to keep your mind sharp. The magnesium in bananas promotes proper electrical activity between nerve cells in the brain. Magnesium also helps the brain dispose of the waste byproduct of protein metabolism, ammonia. By reducing the brain’s ammonia levels, magnesium improves your ability to focus, according to The Franklin Institute. Moreover, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, some research suggests that the B-6 in bananas may help prevent age-related cognitive declines in memory.
Neurological Disorder PreventionBecause of their micronutrient content, bananas may help prevent neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Your body needs magnesium to convert dietary fatty acids into DHA, a substance found within brain cell membranes. According to The Franklin Institute, DHA deficiency has been linked to numerous neurological disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer’s. Along with the many other brain functions of B-6, this banana nutrient may also be important for Parkinson’s disease prevention. A Japanese case-control study published in “British Journal of Nutrition” in September 2010 determined that low intake of vitamin B-6 was associated with increased risk of Parkinson’s, most likely due to the vitamin’s function of preventing neurotoxic brain levels of the amino acid homocysteine.Appetite RegulationSome of the macronutrients bananas supply — carbohydrates and fiber, in particular — may help the brain regulate appetite and thereby provide weight-control benefits. In addition to regulating moods, serotonin also reduces appetite. Eating a carbohydrate-rich food like bananas stimulates your brain to release serotonin and thus promotes feelings of satiety. Furthermore, bananas provide dietary fiber, which produces bulk in the intestinal tract. By stretching the intestinal wall, the fiber in bananas and other fruits and vegetables triggers the release of “fullness” hormones that tell the brain to stop eating.