The foods you have in your pantry and fridge may be helping or hindering your brain.
The foods we choose have a lot to do with how attentive, alert, focused and happy we feel.
Certain foods may taste great but have additives that literally cloud our brains and leave us sluggish and dull headed, other times we can eat certain foods and feel a charge of mental energy and focus.
Here is a quick list of foods that will boost the brain and others that will drain the brain.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamin E.
Add an ounce a day (about 1/4 cup) of walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and un-hydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter and almond butter.
Raw or roasted doesn't matter but if you're on a sodium-restricted diet, have unsalted nuts.
Nuts can also reduce brain inflammation, keeping blood pressure low - key for preventing stroke.
My favorite berry!
They’re great on their own, added to a shake, to oatmeal, or even to a salad.
Blueberries are tasty and sweet and loaded with antioxidants.
They’re packed with vitamin C, K and fiber and high levels of gallic acid, making them especially good at protecting our brains from degeneration and stress.
Studies show that eating blueberries can boost focus and memory for up to 5 hours!
Broccoli is one of the best brain foods, its high levels of vitamin K and choline (B vitamin) are known for aiding brain development, keeping the memory sharp and it can protect the brain from later decline with age.
It’s also loaded with vitamin C.
People usually roll their eyes thinking broccoli is bland and boring.
Try this Broccoli stir fry - add a bit of olive oil to a pan, Broccoli, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and a spoonful of orange or lemon juice.
It has a little heat with the red pepper flakes and a nice sweetness with the orange juice.
Just one cup provides you with 150 percent of your recommended daily intake.
Its high-fiber levels make you feel full quickly!
Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
DHA is very important for the normal functioning of neurons in the brain.
Eating more fish often means eating less red meat and other forms of protein that are high in saturated fats that can clog arteries.
People who are lacking in Omega 3’s can experience mood swings and feeling edgy or negative.
Omega 3’s have been known to be mood boosters and can enhance focus and memory.
This creamy treat is also a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E and C.
Research suggests that foods rich in vitamin E are associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Partially Hydrogenated Oils
Partially hydrogenated oils is code for trans fats, they can put you at risk for obesity, damaging your heart health and can cause serious brain drain.
One study found that people who consumed high levels of trans fats had lower cerebral abilities later in life.
Common culprits include fried foods, baked goods, and processed foods.
Bake or grill that chicken instead of frying it, have sweet potatoes instead of French fries and avoid anything wrapped in plastic that sits on a shelf for months at a time.
The average North American eats 79 pounds of added sweeteners per year which can cause constant insulin spikes and inflammation resulting in both vascular and neuronal damage.
One study found that large amounts of sugar caused the brain's memory control center to become inflamed, meaning it can’t work at 100 percent and brain function slows down.
Another analysis found that high sugar intake is linked to depression. If you are an emotional eater, when you eat something sweet there’s an initial high, it feels good at first but then once it starts to be processed in the body there’s a heaviness that follows.
A diet high in saturated fat can decrease the brain’s ability to fight the formation of Alzheimer's.
Saturated fat impairs your brain's ability to learn and form new memories within as little as 10 minutes after ingesting them.
Processed meats such as bacon, pepperoni, sausage, or chorizo are examples of very tasty foods that are high in saturated fat.
We all like to indulge from time to time and that is fine, but when saturated fats are always in your diet, then it’s going to take a toll.
I know I’m going to be buying more nuts, avocados and blueberries.
What foods are you going to eat more of to boost your brain?