We often eat for a trimmer waistline, or to assist a weakened immune system. But have you ever considered eating foods that would encourage healthy brain function? We use our brains in everything we do, so why not feed it the nutrition it deserves? Today I’m going to share with you some foods that you should be including in your diet to promote neural health.
Blueberries – Topping the list of brainfoods is blueberries. “When researchers from the University of Reading in Pennsylvania and Peninsula Medical School in England supplemented rats’ regular diets with blueberries, they noted dramatic changes in the rodents’ cognitive function. Animals treated with blueberries exhibited an 83 percent improvement on tests of memory within three weeks, and the improvement was maintained for the remainder of the 12-week study” … “It is widely believed that blueberry-derived flavonoids may help improve learning and memory by enhancing communication among brain cells. Some experts speculate that these beneficial compounds may even stimulate the growth of new brain cells.” – Dr. Rallie McAllister
Whole Grains – Being the third largest organ in the human body, the brain requires a great deal of energy. To supply it with the energy it requires, we should be adding whole grains to our meals. Whole grains provide a steady stream of glucose which feed the brain long after you’ve taken your last bite. Foods such as quinoa, brown rice, and millet are considered whole grains and are excellent at improving concentration and focus. While whole grains are a great source of glucose, many people have allergies to certain grains. If you fall into this category, don’t worry – a new study has shown that our brains can adapt to life without carbs, replacing glucose with ketones as a fuel source.
Broccoli – Broccoli is high in lignans, a phytoestrogen compound that has been shown to benefit cognitive skills (thinking, reasoning, remembering, imagining, and learning words. A 2005 study by researchers at King’s College London (United Kingdom) revealed that broccoli also is high in glucosinolates, a group of compounds that can halt the decline of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which is necessary for the central nervous system to perform properly (low levels of acetylcholine are common in those with Alzheimer’s Disease). If you’re not fond of broccoli, try other glucosinolate-rich foods such as: potatoes, oranges, apples, radishes and other cabbage-family vegetables like Brussels sprouts.
Nuts and Seeds – Vitamin E has long been associated with reducing cognitive decline in aging adults. Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamin E, and adding even an ounce a day to your diet could keep your mind sharp for years to come. Pumpkin, flax, and sunflower seeds are all loaded with this vital nutrients to keep your memory fresh. Other sources of Vitamin E include: almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and pecans.
Avocados – This beautiful green delicacy of a fruit is not only tasty, but can improve blood-flow. Avocados are often deemed healthy fats among those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. It’s a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. Not only do they contribute to healthy blood-flow to the brain, but they also lower blood pressure. “Because hypertension is a risk factor for the decline in cognitive abilities, a lower blood pressure should promote brain health.” says Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life. To improve your brain powers, add 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado to one meal per day. Your taste buds (and brain) will thank you!
How many of these amazing brain foods are you consuming each day? Tell us your favorites!
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