Six Great Foods for Improved Brain Health
The phrase, "you are what you eat" rings true when it comes to your brain. What you put into your body affects your brain's ability to function. And if you've ever had days when it felt like the mental fog wouldn't lift, you might look to your diet for some of the answers. Here are some ideas for what you can add to your next grocery list!
Omega-3s for Brain Health and Improved Memory
Consider adding in more foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Among the health benefits of Omega-3 is improved brain health by helping to build healthy cell membranes, reducing inflammation, forming important brain chemicals, and improving nerve transmission.
- Fatty Fish - Sixty-percent of our brains are made up of fat. Omega-3 fatty acids are required for proper brain structure and health. Salmon is packed with it! Other fatty fish include: flounder, pollock, pickled herring, and cod. Try to aim for four ounces of fatty fish per week. If you aren't a seafood lover, try it in a restaurant where you can see how it tastes and get ideas for at-home preparation.
- Walnuts - Walnuts are a plant-based source of Omega-3s and they contain protein, vitamin E, folate, and fiber – also great for lowering cholesterol!
- Grass-fed beef and bison, pasture-fed pork and lamb, and free range chicken and their eggs - Animals whose diets contain wild grasses and other natural Omega-3 food sources will provide more Omega-3s than their mass-produced counterparts that are fed corn or other foods that lack Omega-3s.
Other foods that improve brain health
- Spinach - The fresher you can eat spinach, the more brain-friendly nutrients will be present – including carotenoids and flavonoids. If you can't eat it within a couple days of buying it fresh, try using frozen so that the nutrients are locked in until you're ready to use it.
- Blueberries - Any kind of berry is a healthy snack or part of a meal, but blueberries specifically are full of brain-healthy flavonoids. Consuming blueberries decreases inflammation. Some studies suggest they can even reverse the signs of brain aging.
- Avocado - There has been a lot of talk about how great avocados are for your health and all the great ways they can be used in dishes. They are full of monosaturated fats (the good fats), and can help promote blood flow, which is good for the brain. They’re also full of folate, vitamins B, C, and E, and potassium, making avocados a great food for helping to lower blood pressure. Because they do have natural fats in them, it's best to stick to about 1/4 of an avocado per day. Try mashing it up and spreading on whole-grain toast with an Omega-3 fortified egg on top!
There are many other foods you can add to your diet that can improve overall brain function and health and there are some great recipes out there if you're not familiar with how to prepare any of these ingredients in a healthy and delicious meal or snack. Happy eating!