Oftentimes, proper food choices can seem daunting. What may be the hero of the produce aisle one month can suddenly become vilified overnight (nightshades, anyone?). Plus, navigating one’s own relationship with food can be a challenging, very personalized topic. It’s easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important and empowering to view food as fuel, as a source of nourishment and a way to honor our bodies for all they do for us.
What we eat directly influences how we think, feel, and move. In fact, the brain consumes roughly 20% of the body’s overall energy, so fuel it properly! Specifically, certain foods have been shown to contribute to your ability to think clearly, make effective decisions, and help improve overall memory.
Continue reading to learn more about the best “superfoods” for brain health boosting.
Best superfoods for brain health
Omega 3s are called “essential” fatty acids for good reason – our brain needs them to thrive. Our bodies are unable to produce Omega 3s naturally, making it all the more important to incorporate foods that will allow us to reap the benefits of this brain-boosting powerhouse.
Omega 3s help reduce inflammation, which can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Many varieties of fish, specifically wild-caught sockeye salmon, are a wonderful option to incorporate Omega 3s into your diet. If you’re looking for non-fish alternatives, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and avocado are great options. Walnuts are truly shaped like a brain for a reason; they’re a great source of Omega 3s and cognitive supporting compounds.
Vitamin D is incredibly important in supporting total body health. It helps regulate the immune system and promotes brain function due to stimulation of the primary antioxidant in the brain: the neuroprotectant glutathione (GSH).
The good news is that the sun is an incredible source of this power vitamin. However, food sources such as sardines, salmon, egg yolks, and fortified cereals are great dietary supplements year round.
Not only are spices a great way to pack a flavorful punch to your favorite meal, but they also offer many impressive (and oftentimes overlooked) benefits for your brain health.
- Turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant, which is known to prevent oxidative damage and be incredibly anti-inflammatory. This powerful spice may contribute to the prevention of diseases, such as heart diseases and Alzheimer’s, but also helps to reduce overall inflammation in the body. This in turn, may help alleviate symptoms of depression as there is a direct link between chronic, oxidative stress in the body and depression.
- Rosemary: A kitchen essential – rosemary offers more than simply a familiar and comforting flavor. This herb contains the flavonoid apigenin, which is known to help reduce the effects of neurological disorders and mental fatigue. This powerful herb also supports memory, and is a delicious addition to meals at any time throughout the day, whether that be a breakfast omelet or a dinnertime salmon entree.
- Garlic: Garlic offers quite a few impressive health benefits that go well beyond its delicious flavor. Garlic has been historically known to be used for preventing and treating illness. However, this kitchen staple offers additional cognitive supporting benefits as well. Much like other herbs mentioned above, garlic helps the body combat oxidative stress and in turn reduces overall inflammation in the body. Garlic is truly a versatile, multi-purpose spice that checks all of the boxes.
A healthy brain is a vital part of an overall healthy body. These tips will help you make simple food choices that can boost your overall brain health. In turn, you will feel stronger and more energized in your daily life.