We live in a time where we use our brains much more than ever before. Whether it is for reading, listening, working, or just thinking, our brains are being tasked to perform and keep performing at the highest level day in day out.
Because of this demand we find that health and wellness problems/challenges linked to the brain are on the rise – headaches, sleep problems, poor memory, brain fog, inability to keep our focus, low mood, depression and even fatigue.
How are you doing with your brain health? Is your brain working at its most optimum level? How many of the symptoms I mentioned in the previous paragraph can you remember without going back to re-read them?
If you are like most people, your brain could do with a bit of help and some wellness love.
It is essential that we take care of our brains. Indeed, there are many things we can do in this regard.
You can start off by prioritising sleep. Getting enough sleep is essential for cleansing and renewing your brain. As you sleep the brain undergoes a special process to wash the brain, akin to taking a bath. But this only happens if you go to bed on an empty stomach. Aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Being active and exercising is also vital to keeping your brain healthy.
Challenging your brain through crossword puzzles, playing mind stimulating games like chess or scrabble, or even trying to do simple calculations without a calculator will help to make your brain neurons stronger and more effective.
However, one area where we have a huge opportunity to improve our brain health is what we are eating. Do you know that there are foods that make our brain work so much better? Not all food has the same impact on your body.
The brain in particular is quite fatty. Fat is a critical nutrient in nerve functioning. Our brains work through nerves. Therefore, certain good fats make the brain work better. It is not only good fats that are important there are many other foods.
I have written about these foods in the revised version of my book Eat Your Way to Wellness. This section wasn’t included in the first version but like many other things I have added, there was increased demand for these additions. In order that you don’t miss out on this information, I have extracted and summarized that section for your benefit.
Here are the brain foods you should be eating often.
· Avocado – This is my number one brain food. It is high in healthy monounsaturated and omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation and help with mood, emotions, and a healthy blood flow to your brain.
· Broccoli – This cruciferous vegetable is high in vitamin K, a vital nutrient for brain function. It is also high in antioxidants and fibre, which help reduce brain inflammation and improve memory.
· Turmeric – One of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods we know, turmeric has been shown to improve brain utilisation of oxygen and reduce brain damage from free radicals. It also helps with memory, depression, and growth of new brain cells.
· Pumpkin seeds – They are rich in zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants. Magnesium is good for alertness, learning, and memory while zinc is good for nerve function. Eat these often. Other seeds like chia and hemp seeds are also good for the brain. Imagine how many of us throw away these useful seeds away. Keep them, dry them, roast or use them in your smoothie.
· Cocoa – This is the key ingredient in dark chocolate that makes it such a healthy food. Cocoa is rich in flavonols and antioxidants that have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Use organic cocoa not the processed type with sugar and additives.
· Fatty fish – Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in the fat of some fish, are extremely useful for brain health. The brain is about 60% fat, about half of which comprises omega-3 fatty acids. The fats help reduce inflammation and prevent the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
· Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil – Coconut oil is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the brain, improve memory, and protect the brain in general. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols and monounsaturated fats, which help improve learning and memory and reduce brain decline as you age.
· Berries – Just like cocoa, some berries, such as blueberries, are rich in flavonoid antioxidants, which help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. These compounds help the brain to form new cells and connections, which also helps improve communication between brain cells.
· Organic eggs – The egg yolk in particular is rich in choline, a nutrient that is important in the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate your mood and memory. Eggs are also rich in other important brain nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin B12, and other B vitamins.
· Green tea – The antioxidants and compounds in green tea have been found to improve alertness, focus, and memory. L-theanine, a nutrient in green tea, helps reduce anxiety and keeps the body more relaxed, especially in times of stress.
Other important foods for the brain include leafy greens, walnuts, whole grains, beetroot, rosemary, celery, and hemp seeds.
So, there it is. This information is from Chapter 16 in my book. In that section of my book, I also write about the best foods for your heart, for your immunity, to slow aging, prevent cellular damage and enhance energy production.
You can learn more about my book and get a copy by clicking here.
I’ll stop here for now and hope that the next time you go shopping or make food choices when serving, you will keep your brain in mind too.