This is your brain, on food
Have you ever wondered if what you eat can effect your brain? Of course, it does! The nutrients that you consume impact every part of your body – including that cranium. There have been mounds of research done on the effects of diet on diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia and what I can tell with you utmost certainty is that following a heart healthy diet is key for optimal brain health.
Also, it is important to know that what you eat can impact how you feel. Living a healthy lifestyle is a great form of treatment for things like depression or anxiety. Something you can do is to try to cut out processed foods (like foods high in trans fats, fast food) for 2 weeks and take note on how it makes you feel, emotionally. When you are eating better foods, it doesn’t only effect you physically – but mentally too.
So what do you need to do?
Focus on unsaturated fats while skipping out on the trains and saturated fats is a great first step to a healthier brain. Also, trying to limit added sugars, choosing whole wheat grains and exercising 3 times a week are recommended for optimal brain functionality.
Take note – having a forgetful day or a down in the dumps day? Although there are many other factors that may contribute, try to think about what you ate too. Emotional eating starts to creep in and it’s most likely not vegetables.
What Else Can You Do?
Below are 4 key nutrients for brain health, along with ways to get them into your diet. In an effort to increase cognitive health, try consuming these nutrients more often, if not daily!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These are the good fats. They are a necessity for brain health, development and functionality (wow, that’s a lot!). Since the body doesn’t make efficiently make EPA or DHA (types of polyunsaturated fats), it’s crucial to get them from your diet.
Foods like fatty fish, enriched products like eggs will have DHA or EPA in them. Another reason the heart-healthy lifestyle is also brain healthy. If you aren’t a fish eater, try supplementing with Omega-3s.
Flavonoids are plant pigments with amazing antioxidant properties. They fight inflammation throughout the body and boost immunity. Diminishing inflammation in your brain is crucial for things like memory recall or blood flow.
Some great sources are dark berries (blackberries, blueberries), red wine, cocoa, tea, black beans, tomatoes – see the trend? Deeply colored plants.
As an essential nutrient, Choline makes a big impact on brain health. It is used to help connect your brain to your muscles, helps with visual memory and retention. Choline is a big supporter of mental clarity as well – keeping that “foggy brain” at bay.
The best sources of choline are eggs, liver, shrimp, brussels sprouts, dairy, spinach, beets – to name a few! Try getting choline from whole foods instead of supplementation.
Acting similar to Flavonoids, Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. While also helping with inflammation, Vitamin E takes on the important job of protecting your brain cells from harmful environmental free radicals. Vitamin E has been linked to preventing, or even slowing down the Alzheimer’s progression – so what are you waiting for??
Sources of Vitamin E are almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocado, seeds (sunflower, pumpkin), kale and other greens. Vitamin E is found in almost everyone’s daily diet – if not, start by adding them today to protect your brain!
Excuse me while I go feed my brain 🙂