Brain Healthy Foods to Eat
To keep your brain healthy, think of it as a muscle you need to feed and exercise properly. What should you feed it? How should you exercise it? You definitely need to fuel it with brain healthy foods.
To keep your brain healthy, it is important to fuel your brain with foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect cells from free radical damage and are an excellent way to improve cognitive skills and slow brain aging.
The other half of this equation is exercising your brain. As we age, some of our brain cells deteriorate. The good news is there are things we can do to keep our cognitive functions going for as long as possible.
Brain Healthy Basics
Since three-quarters of our brain is water, not replenishing it often can lead to brain dehydration, which in turn can affect your mental makeup.
A study conducted at Ohio University determined people who drink a lot of water and are hydrated scored better on tests measuring their brainpower than individuals who did not drink enough water. So, make sure you are getting your six to eight glasses of water per day.
Even in ancient times, without the science to prove it, people who ate a moderate diet (much like today's Mediterranean diet) lived longer and better than their counterparts who ate anything and everything in sight.
A recent study found that people who eat a diet packed with anti-inflammatory and other disease-fighting foods performed exceedingly better on cognitive tests than those who did not eat these foods.
What Are Some of The Best Brain Healthy Foods?
The protein and monounsaturated fat help blood circulate better, which is essential for optimal brain function.
Deep-water fish like wild salmon is known for its rich antioxidant, omega-3 fatty acids, making it wonderful brain food. Other fish on the list include trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers. The recommended amount is four ounces, two to three times weekly.
They are excellent source of vitamin E and have been shown to slow down cognitive decline as we age. Nuts to enjoy include hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter and tahini. The healthier option is making sure these are unsalted.
Just like the muscles in your body, your brain works better when it has a good supply of energy.
Nutritionists state that whole grains, which are low on the glycemic index, keep blood sugar levels stable. This means they release glucose into your bloodstream slowly, which in turn aids keeping you alert throughout the day. Suggested amounts are half a cup of whole grain cereal or one slice of bread two to three times daily, or two tablespoons of wheat germ per day.
Since lycopene and beta-carotene are plentiful in tomatoes, they make the list. They are easy, economical and one of the best ways to get an adequate supply of carotenoids. they are powerful antioxidants that eliminate the free radicals that cause inflammation.
Studies have found that people who suffer “senior” moments (mild cognitive impairment) have lower levels of carotenoids like lycopene in their blood. Eating two cups of tomatoes daily should provide you with the amount of lycopene you need to function well.
Here are some other foods to eat that are high in the antioxidants your brain needs:
- Beans. They are high in fiber and even out glucose levels (the brain depends on glucose for fuel).
- Shellfish. Rich in nutrients such as selenium, magnesium and protein. I try to eat two to three helpings of shellfish a week.
- Garlic. Aside from keeping vampires away, eating as much fresh garlic as you can reduces bad cholesterol, strengthens the cardiovascular system and feeds your body a protective antioxidant.
- Chocolate. This is a favorite on the list. who knew it has brain-boosting compounds loaded with antioxidants? Not only that, chocolate sends your serotonin through the roof, which makes you feel happy.
Working Out for Your Brain
It has been proven that hitting the gym and keeping your body fit is the absolute best way to keep your brain active over time. Add some weights to it while you are at it. You will tone both your body and brain!
Your body is not the only thing you should be working out. Try a Sudoku puzzle. Doing a challenging problem is a surefire way to activate your brain. There are a ton of free online puzzles you can tackle, just search free online puzzles for adults. Try to set a goal for yourself of learning something new every day.
Time to Eat
With this list, you are now prepared to revamp your diet with brain foods. From eggs to tomatoes to oatmeal, these is something for breakfast, lunch and dinner.