- Eat Your Omegas: Omegas have anti-aging effects on brain structure and function, from cognition and memory to mental health and Alzheimer’s prevention. They have recently been associated with increased volume of the brain’s gray matter, especially in those regions associated with happiness, and they boost intelligence through enhanced function from conception on-wards.
- Get in those Dark Leafy Greens: The overall brain-boosting nutritional firepower in dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, collards, Swiss chard, and lettuce greens is difficult to rival. “They provide the full spectrum of protective nutrients, including a huge dose of vitamins A and C, along with 18 additional essential nutrients,” Kulze says. They’re exceptionally low in calories (excess body fat damages the brain), and high in plant antioxidants, too, she adds. They even provide a small kick of omega-3 fats. You couldn’t ask for anything more from a vegetable.
- Bump up your consumption of Berries: Blueberries provide the brain with a gradual dose of its must-have fuel, glucose, along with a massive hit of powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant pigments called anthocyanins. Blueberries have even been shown to reverse signs of aging in the brain, help repair and protect cells, and improve memory, according to researchOpens a New Window. published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
- Drink Up! Our brain is 75% water…being dehydrated can then obviously have very negative impacts on our mental health, thinking and focus. Rule of thumb is that we need to consume half the amount of our weight of water in ounces daily.
- Munch on Nuts and Seeds: Nuts, especially walnuts have several nutrients instrumental for brain health, like amino acids, a full spectrum of minerals, B vitamins, Omega 3’s and vitamin E. Hemp seeds are one of the most complete foods; including nutrients such as omega-3 fats, B vitamins, vitamins D and E, and a comprehensive package of minerals.
- Eat Chocolate! Dark Chocolate/Raw Cacao or Cocoa has exceedingly high levels of plant antioxidants called flavanols that dilate blood vessels. This allows more oxygen and blood to reach key areas of our brain. Additionally, it provides a generous amount of magnesium, zinc, and fiber. Dark chocolate can help us soldier on against fatigue and the effects of aging. It is one of the only foods shown to acutely boost both mood, focus, and alertness, according to a University of Nottingham study. “And, if you eat a prudent portion (up to one ounce daily) of high cacao dark chocolate (72% or greater), it barely makes a dent in your daily sugar quota,” Kulze adds.
- Train Your Brain: incorporate puzzles, reading and daily activities that support problem solving and memory.
For more information and tips on supporting brain health during the month of September, like the Food 4 Thought Facebook Page.
Melanie Schmidt is a Certified Health Coach (from IIN and AAP) and mom of 3 small children that is passionate about supporting and empowering women in achieving a healthy lifestyle that fosters joy, presence, energy and optimal physical and emotional health. Melanie believes that incorporating more whole foods, physical activity, practicing simple mindfulness techniques and doing what gives us joy can be foundational to our health and wellbeing. As a mom of 3 small children, Melanie understands the demands of family life, career, making regular healthy meals, weaving in self care, along with the daily challenge to create life balance. These reasons and challenges are why Melanie is passionate about supporting and partnering with women at any life stage to support them in meeting personal and family wellness lifestyle goals.
Food 4 Thought does not intend to dispense medical advice and should not be considered medical advice or counsel. If you have a question about your health or the health of your child please consult your physician. The stories and information here are anecdotal and of personal opinion only and should not be used as a substitute for medical help.