After exploring ways to enhance the learning ability of our two primary school children, we came across a great deal of research dealing with brain health and nutrition – specifically, ways we can use to optimize our brain nutrition by adding more brain food to our diets.
It doesn't matter who you are, there's no debate today that a highly optimized brain is required to process the immense amount of information and stimuli around us…young, middle-age or old, we all need to focus on brain healthy diets and exercises more often.
Brain food choices can help to clear up fuzzy thinking, overcome low energy, times when you just don't feel like you are "on the ball". Brain nutrition is a very active, well funded field of research resulting in many breakthrough findings.
For instance, the link between vitamin B12 and overall brain nutrition and functioning has been well documented in several studies. Lately, we've seen more information coming out on the link between Vitamin E and brain health where some studies are showing evidence of slowing the de-generation of the brain improving our lives as we age.
Inside "Beyond Greatness" there is an entire section dedicated to the connection between toxins in our body as well as nasty bugs including parasites and overgrowth of microbes in our gut being directly linked to poor brain functioning.
In each case, there is powerful support for the notion that our diet can directly impact our brain health and that choosing smart but tasty brain food can certainly give us some control over how well our brain functions now and into the future.
Here are some of our favorite choices for brain food:
1. Salmon or Tuna contain Omega-3 fatty acids which are thought to help in both keeping the brain healthy, but also has possible benefits in regeneration of damaged portions of the brain.
2. Green vegetables…find one you like from a list of broccoli, spinach, beat greens and asparagus. Make them a regular part of at least one meal each day.
3. Eggs…fit eggs into your meals a few times each week; they are great for a super-charge of B vitamins – a great brain food
4. Beans and lentils…the advantages of beans and lentils have been wide; they include not only brain health but also heart and overall ability to improve digestive and immune system function. Most of us do not eat nearly enough of this food family, look for specific recipes on how to add beans and lentils to some enticing foods
5. Broccoli…we mentioned this super food up under green vegetables, but it really needs to be identified on its own since it is perhaps one of the healthiest foods available to us and in most places, it is quite inexpensive. Broccoli is great for both iron and vitamin B both essential to optimal brain nutrition
6. Nuts…especially almonds. It used to be that almonds and almond butter spreads were out of reach of most consumers due to their high price…recently we've noticed that prices have come down and are within reach of most consumers. Substituting almond butter for peanut butter a few times a week is a great way to get more healthy fat and vitamin E in your diet – a great brain food
7. Olive oil…you may be used to hearing olive oil prescribed as a healthy heart food, consider this a two-for-one opportunity to also get more vitamin E – a terrific brain supplement
8. Blueberries…especially wild blueberries are a terrific source of phytochemicals, a type of antioxidant for which there is evidence of brain health and regeneration
9. Red wine…in moderation can also help to add more phytochemicals to your diet; in this case the good stuff comes from the antioxidants contained in the skin of red grapes
10. Sunflower seeds…sprinkle these tasty treats over top of your morning oatmeal, mix them in with a salad to add some texture and flavor or add them to a couscous or rice dish – in each case they will help add vitamin E to your diet – a great brain food
The real trick to improving your brain health by using these foods is consistency. It will be more beneficial for you to include these different foods in your daily and weekly diets over a long period of time rather than binging on them for a week and then heading back into an unhealthy diet.
I know we were pleasantly surprised to find that brain food doesn't have to be bad tasting or expensive – there are many choices that any of us will find delicious and economical – it's just a matter of creating the habit of including them in our daily meal plans.