It’s September, and for many of us that means back to school and back to the books. Looming ahead of us are long nights of studying, lots of new knowledge to retain and lots of need for brain power! This makes it a great time to have a look at our diet and up our intake of brain friendly foods!
Here are 10 foods that feed your brain:
Walnuts – These nuts (which even kind of look like a brain!) are high in vitamin E. This vitamin is good for our skin and also has been shown to aid in memory function and to ward off the development of Alzheimer’s.
Blueberries – Not only are these little things packed with water and antioxidants, but research has also shown that they may play a role in improving or delaying short term memory loss. Throw some into your smoothies or oatmeal, or make some blueberry muffins!
Salmon – Our brain is composed of a lot of fat, so when it comes time to choosing brain friendly foods, ones high in healthy fatty acids are always a win. Salmon is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, the good fats that our cells (and brain!) need to function properly.
Pumpkin Seeds – Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc, a mineral essential for enhancing memory and thinking skills. Not to mention, these seeds are a source of fiber and healthy fats and offer several other vitamins and minerals as well. Sprinkle them on top of your smoothie bowl, or make them into a pesto!
Avocado – High in monounsaturated fat, these green coloured fruits offer healthy brain fuel and help improve blood flow to the brain for optimal functioning. Healthy levels of monounsaturated fat can contribute to regulating blood pressure and ensuring it remains in a safe range, reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke. Avocados are great in salads and smoothies and even make delicious desserts!
Kale – As if you didn’t have enough reasons to eat kale already, you can add it to your diet to help the brain! The powerful antioxidants in kale and other cruciferous vegetables help protect the brain from free radicals and keep it functioning and healthy. I like to throw some in my smoothie every morning for an extra boost of greens!
Broccoli – A rich source of vitamin K, broccoli is actually packed with lots of nutrients and is a nutrition powerhouse. In terms of brain health, it helps enhance cognitive abilities and aids in memory improvement. Make it the star of the show for your next dinner and whip up these Cheezy Broccoli Bowls.
Dark Chocolate – I’m sure you’ve all heard that dark chocolate can have a good, healthy place in your regular routine if consumed in moderation. It is high in antioxidants, helping remove free radicals from the brain, and the high cocoa ratio has been shown to have positive effects on cognitive function. There’s a whole host of health benefits that come from raw cocoa, so add some to your diet today. I hear these Chocolate Caramel Bars calling your name . . .
Seaweed – The vegan/vegetarian equivalent to salmon, seaweed is high in healthy fats and it’s high magnesium content is affiliated with better cognitive performance. Get it easily in your sushi the next time you need a healthy take away dinner option.
Whole Grains – The brain can only be as healthy as the amount of fuel it has to function. Whole grains are a great source of carbohydrates – the brain’s main fuel source, - and it’s important to keep our carbohydrate intake at a safe level to always keep the brain fuelled. Muffins, whole grain pastas and healthy snack breads are a great choice, or better yet, try your hand at your own homemade whole wheat bread!