Get smart with these 7 brain-boosting foods
What organ is the boss of your body?
And what does your brain want?
Specifically, your brain wants nutrient-rich foods that are loaded with antioxidants, good healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.
Antioxidants are substances that protect your cells from damage; they are especially important for brain health.
The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which is an imbalance of these antioxidants, that can lead to cell and tissue damage, and contribute to age-related cognitive decline and brain diseases.
If you’re looking to improve your memory and concentration, or even your mood, look no further than a nutritious diet of wholesome foods!
Wholesome foods support and improve both long and short-term brain health from energy levels to cognitive (thinking, reasoning, remembering) function as you age.
I’m guessing you’re with me in wanting to improve the health of your brain and keep that boss nourished!
Here are seven nutrient-rich foods that do just that.
1. Omega-3 rich fatty fish
Did you know that the brain is the fattiest organ in the body? Yes! The brain consists of at least 60% fat!
Healthy fats serve as an energy source for the brain. They promote blood circulation, and are anti-inflammatory. A diet with higher levels of omega-3 fats may lower risks of dementia, enhances memory, and produces serotonin, the good mood brain chemical.
The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily, fatty fish; these include wild-caught salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring, the ultimate brain foods.
Note: Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body, which means they must be obtained through our diet.
Did you know that your brain also consists of about 75% water? Yes! That means, you need water to support brain function!
Hydration is foundational to health, including brain health! Hydration reduces brain inflammation and bolsters alertness, memory function, sustained attention, and improved circulation.
Bottom line - don’t let your brain dry out!
Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries are high in flavonoid antioxidants (which help regulate cellular activity). Other positive effects on the brain include:
Reduce inflammation and and oxidative stress in the brain and throughout the body
Improve communication between brain cells, increase plasticity, which helps brain cells form new connections
Boost learning and memory and reduce or delay age-related neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline
This flavorful and brightly colored spice packs a potent brain-boosting punch!
Turmeric’s main active ingredient is curcumin and has many medicinal properties; it’s a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and is known to boost levels of the brain hormone BDNF. BDNF protects and repairs your brain cells, it can help ease depression, and fights against neurodegenerative diseases.
Other wonderful benefits of turmeric include: improving the brain’s oxygen intake, increasing memory and cognitive function, and strengthening the immune system.
Some ways to incorporate turmeric into your daily diet is to add 1 teaspoon to your eggs, roasted veggies, smoothie, rice, or soup!
PRO TIP: Add a little fresh black pepper to your turmeric to activate its healing properties!
5. Dark Chocolate
Calling all dark chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate is a natural anti-inflammatory, improving blood flow throughout the body and to the brain.
Dark chocolate nutrients include magnesium, zinc, and fiber. It also contains flavonoid antioxidants that help in the prevention of age-related memory decline. Research shows that dark chocolate can combat fatigue and the effects of aging, and boost both mood, focus, and alertness.
PRO TIP: In order to reap all the benefits, your chocolate must be at least 72% cacao. The higher cacao %, the less sugar and more nutritional benefits. I generally go for 85%!
6. Nuts and Seeds, raw and unsalted
Nuts and seeds are an easy go-to snack, good for the brain and cognitive health. They are a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Research has found that vitamin E may also contribute to improved cognition and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
PRO TIP: Choose raw, unsalted nuts and seeds without added oils or sugars. Roasting damages the healthy polyunsaturated fats in nuts and shortens their shelf life. Some antioxidants and vitamins are lost during roasting.
Did you know that avocados are one of the fattiest foods on the planet? Well, one of the fattiest plant foods that is! 77% of their calories are made up of healthy high quality monounsaturated fatty acids, which supports robust blood flow, and with robust blood flow, you’re promoting healthy brain function.
Remember, the brain is 60% fat and the integrity of your brain cell membranes depend on high-quality dietary fat! So go ahead and eat that guacamole!
Now you’re well-equipped with a brain-boosting foods grocery list!
As you choose these nutrient dense foods to support your brain health, remember to diversify rather than sticking with one or two “superfoods.”
Eating lots of different grass-fed meats, pastured poultry, wild-caught fish, organic fruits and veggies provides you the widest variety of brain-boosting antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Mix it up! Diversity is key to health.
Here’s to your brain being the best boss of you!
Love, Your Wellness Coach,
September 1, 2020