Our brains. What an interesting place they can be! Our brains take messages from the world and give them meaning for us. They store so much information in our memory – from the way it feels to have a hug from your mom to what chocolate tastes like to what you learned in grade 12 Algebra. The brain controls our thoughts, memory and speech, movement of the arms and legs, and the function of many organs within our body. Treating our brain as best we can is imperative for long term health.
When I first started Intermittent Fasting one of the things that attracted me most to it was the idea of helping to clean our body and brain for more optimal health. Essentially, when we sleep, our brains and body cells are being cleaned. We wake up feeling fresh and energized after a good night sleep. When we continue to fast for a little bit longer, it allows our body to continue to clean its’ cells rather than jump right into digestive mode. I really like that concept.
But other than intermittent fasting, what can we do from a nutrition side of things to help our brains be the healthiest they can be? There are a few foods that are known to be great for boosting brain health. These foods include:
- Berries – a strong antioxidant, berries help our memory stay sharp as we age.
- Dark Chocolate – this powerful antioxidant helps support cellular aging.
- Broccoli – high in antioxidants and vitamin K, this super veg is a winner on all fronts for your big brain.
- Avocados – this good, healthy fat is great for your brain and your mood by helping release the ‘feel good’ chemicals in your brain.
- Oily Fish – What makes oily fish so good is that they contain the active form of Omega 3 fats, EPA and DHA, in a ready-made form, which enables the body to use it easily. The less work our body has to do to use the nutrients, the more energy we have for other body tasks.
- Seeds and Nuts – another win for omega 3 fats and antioxidants with these powerhouses.
- Kale – this veg promotes great gut health. There is a HUGE connection between our gut health and our brain health. We would suggest reading more on this here.
- Eggs – vitamins B6 and B12, folate and choline are all found in eggs which are great for brain health and boosting memory.
- Coffee – the caffeine and antioxidants in coffee are great for brain health. So maybe it’s not just our imagination that we feel sharper after our first cup of joe!
- Turmeric – according to Healthline.com, Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, meaning it can directly enter the brain and benefit the cells there.
Reducing our sugar intake, switching white carbs for better sources of carbohydrates such as whole grain bread or quinoa, and not over doing it with alcohol, are all things we should make note of when we talk about our brain health. Staying physically active is also really important, as is staying mentally active – doing brain games, crosswords and sudokus for example are all great for our brain and overall longevity and health.
It’s really important to remember that we are our own best advocates for our health and wellness. It is up to you and you only to ensure you are making good choices when it comes to your nutrition and overall health. You need to make YOU a priority, and part of this is eating a nutrient dense diet and staying active through all stages of your life.
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