Foods to Keep Your Brain Sharp
There are plenty of things in life that can mess with our focus, so we don’t want our food to be one of them. In fact what we want to do is be feeding our bodies with nourishing food that supports our brain health and mental clarity. Here are some foods to eat to help keep your brain sharp.
Salmon is an awesome source of brain healthy protein. The fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the brain, as well as magnesium, the B-vitamins, zinc, Vitamin D, and choline which are great for the brain as well. When possible go with wild salmon as opposed to salmon that has been farmed, as it has fewer calories calories and fat, which cuts out some of the saturated fat as well.
All nuts have their health benefits but walnuts are particularly good for supporting brain health. They are a great source of amino acids, the B vitamins, and vitamin E which might be able to help reduce cognitive decline. Walnuts are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids like salmon is. The brain is more at risk to be affected by inflammation than other areas of the body, so keeping that down with antioxidants like those found in a walnut is key.
Beans are so commonplace that it’s hard to remember how healthy they are, but they are super good for you. Their high fiber count makes them a low glycemic food option and they can keep you feeling full for a long time. They provide glucose to the body which is the type of fuel that the brain likes the most. Beans are also a great source of magnesium, zinc, fiber, antioxidants, and folate, the latter of which is crucial for the brain to work properly. A folate deficiency in fact can cause neurological disorders, impairment, and depression.
Avocados are an awesome source of monounsaturated fats which help encourage blood flow to the brain. They are also good sources of folate, potassium (which can help lower the blood pressure), vitamin B6 (which can help to relieve stress in the body), vitamin C (awesome antioxidant to reduce oxidative stress), vitamin E, and copper.
All grains are good for the brain but black rice is a great option since it contains more antioxidants than blueberries, plus fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The purple pigment anthocyanin that makes blueberries blue is actually the same kind found in the rice, it’s just even more concentrated.
Yes there’s room for a little bit of indulging on this list as well. Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants called flavanols, which are great at dilated the blood vessels which will allow more blood and oxygen to circle through the brain. Some studies have even found dark chocolate to boost the mood, focus, and alertness, so if you’re craving some during your after lunch slump at work nibbling on a bit might not be the worst idea. Just keep it portioned controlled and as dark as possible to get the most health benefits.
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About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.