When was the last time you considered eating foods that fuel your brain?
People exercise to build energy and eat well to keep their physique and boost energy levels, but lack focus on vital organ health. The answer to this question, for many, is I don’t remember or maybe never.
Brain nourishment and mental health go hand in hand, acknowledging that reality will support your capacity to show up to the world’s challenges. For starters, pull out your phone, open Pinterest, and type, “Meditteranean Diet.” Looking and functioning like Helen or Odysseus didn’t come by chance.
I can’t remember the last time I thought about the food I ingested playing a role in my ability to think better. Ironically, this dilemma represents a lack of knowledge and understanding of the influence diet has on cognition. Specifically, there are three kinds of food that will enhance your ability to process information and connect the dots more meaningfully.
The Three Foods That Support Cognitive Function
Leafy greens, oily fish, and nuts provide the perfect balance of nutrient-dense foods that support the growth and development of our primary sense maker. Vitamins C, D, E, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants are essential to cognitive function and stave off diseases. A Mediterranean diet ensures less Alzheimer related complications than a Western diet classified by high consumption of red meat, saturated fats, and processed carbs.
“Requiring intensive metabolic resources, the brain is affected by the health of the cardiovascular system and the quality of food consumed. Diets that are rich in berries, nuts and fish are often linked to increased lifespans and the reduction of neurodegenerative disease.” — Neuroscientist, Dr. Jardin
Do you remember that one chemical, tryptophan, that puts you in a food coma post-Thanksgiving feast? Yeah, it’s in turkey, and it makes you sleepy. It’s also super important for your health because it impacts your brain’s ability to make serotonin, which facilitates communication between brain cells and the nervous system and dramatically affects your mood. Eat salmon to get a healthy dose to support your mood-boosting hormone production.
Second, Choline, found in leafy greens +broccoli, helps make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which impacts muscle movement, thinking, and working memory. Low acetylcholine levels have been linked to learning deficiencies and memory impairments, as well as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Lastly, nuts, specifically peanuts, supports brain wellness and cognitive function because they are rich in unsaturated fats, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, providing anti-inflammatory antioxidants to the brain. Antioxidants, including resveratrol, protect against harmful diseases, cancer, and inflammation. Inversely, it’s important to note, stay away from highly processed foods like white bread and pasta because they offset the benefits of the prior.
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