**I am not a doctor. The following blog post should not substitute for or replace the advice of your doctor.
What you put in your body determines your body’s output.
Many people choose their foods based on taste. Chips, burgers, cookies, cakes, pies…we don’t eat these things because they are good for us. We eat these things because we like the way they taste. However, our favorite foods may be causing us more harm than good. When we choose to eat unhealthy foods, our bodies and minds tend to suffer because of it.
We should eat to provide our bodies with the proper fuel it needs to function.
The brain is the most important organ in our bodies. Unfortunately, many times brain health goes overlooked. When people think “eating healthy”, they tend to associate nutritious foods with losing weight, gaining strength, or living longer. Just as you can eat to improve your physical body, you can also consume specific foods to increase brain power.
Because our brain is a high functioning organ, it needs lots of tender love and care to properly function. Mental wellness, mental clarity, and mental strength also all depend on a strong and healthy brain. The brain is the command center of your body, and it controls everything you think, feel, and do. When your brain functions at its maximum health, you can perform better in every area of your life.
The foods you are eating can either help or hinder how you function throughout the day.
Your brain function is totally dependent on what you eat throughout the day. Our brains actually consume more than 20% of our caloric intake and 20% of our oxygen intake each day. That means a good portion of your daily food intake directly impacts your brain. Your hormones, emotions, and cognitive functions are all tied to the health and well being of your brain. If your emotions and mood seem out of control lately, it may be time to evaluate your diet.
Because what you eat a drink directly affect your brain, it is important to do what it takes to keep your mind functioning at it’s best.
- Eating foods that are low in saturated fat and have a low glycemic index (meaning they don’t cause a spike in blood sugar) help adults perform better on tests.
- Eating protein-rich foods can improve overall cognitive performance.
- Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated helps your brain get rid of waste and keep your hormones and emotions balanced and at a normal level.
When you know what you need your brain needs, you can feed it accordingly. For example, if you have a test coming up, eat vitamin-rich foods that will help you study well and test better. When I have long-hour work days, I eat protein-rich snacks throughout the day to help keep my energy levels high.
If it’s bad for your body, it’s bad for your brain.
Here are a few examples of tasty brain-boosting foods:
- Berries – improves mental capacity and motor skill development
- Carrots – reduces brain inflammation and age-related memory issues
- Salmon – eating fish with high levels of DHA and EPA are vital to brain and eye development
- Greek Yogurt – improves slow thinking, anxiety, and crankiness
- Avocado – the monounsaturated fats in avocados improve blood circulation
- Spinach – the magnesium and potassium in spinach aid in the proper function of learning and memory.
- Grapes – grapes contain necessary antioxidants that attack free-radicals that try to damage brain cells
- Tomatoes – tomatoes contain lycopene, a gene that aids in gene regulation and brain growth
- Broccoli – the potassium it contains helps to the brain healing itself in case of injury
- Garlic – has multiple factors that contribute to proper brain function
- Oatmeal – reduces cholesterol and helps your brain get the amount of oxygen it requires
- Brown Rice – unpolished rice fuels the brain with B vitamins necessary for producing energy in the brain cells
- Eggs – aids in memory building
- Citrus Fruits – high in Vitamin C which improve memory and brain performance
- Whole Grains – enhance memory and focus
- Dark Chocolate – stimulates increased blood flow to the brain resulting in improved memory and concentration
- Red Cabbage – provides antioxidants to the brain that help to protect brain cells
When your brain is healthy, you ultimately become smarter, more productive, and an overall healthier and happier person. As you fill up on superfoods to help give your brain what it needs, be sure to get rid of any foods that will stunt or hinder your brain function.
Here are a few brain busters to stay away from:
- Fatty Fast Food – fast food has been connected to brain shrinkage and can lead to Alzheimer’s disease
- Salty Foods – salt is heard on the heart, and research has shown it can be hard on the brain too
- Processed Foods – artificial food additives affect cognitive function and behavior
- Fried Foods – compounds released from common cooking oils raise the risk of the breakdown of brain cells
- Tylenol PM – when used excessively can start to cloud your brain
- Alcohol – when used excessively will cloud your memory
Are your daily habits helping or hindering your brain functionality? It may be time to make some changes. Do your research, evaluate your diet, and incorporate what you need into your daily routine to maintain brain health.