To prove that the saying mens sana in corpore sano (Latin for ‘healthy mind in a healthy body’) is accurate, researchers have been backing up the benefits of food for the brain. At the end of the day, you are what you eat. Bingeing on carbs and sugary foods won’t help you waistline or your mood. People who deal with mood disorders or depression are even more sensitive to what they eat. An unbalanced diet can affect your body’s functions, including your brain. Which brings us to the question: can you make your lifestyle smarter by choosing a healthy diet?
Power food for the brain
You decide what you feed your body and what you stay away from. Power foods have earned their name by offering a plethora of benefits both for the inside and the outside of our body. Once you start eating fresh and avoid canned foods, it’s easy to spot your livelier mood, stronger nails and shinier hair. As you grow old, you’ll also notice your cognitive functions remain undamaged. It’s never too late to start adding these foods into your diet:
- Oily fish – packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, it promotes brain function and it alleviates joint aches. You can get Omega 3 from fish, flaxseeds, walnut oil and soy bean oil.
- Blueberries – fight memory loss and are a great source of antioxidants.
- Tomatoes – contain lycopene, which recent studies indicate could fight against free radicals and can even keep Alzheimer’s at bay.
- Pumpkin seeds – comprising amazing amounts of zinc, pumpkin seeds will help you improve your memory skills.
- Broccoli – among the best sources of vitamin K, you might think twice before wrinkling your nose at broccoli. Adding it to your diet can help you improve cognitive function.
- Nuts – the vitamin E found in various sorts of nuts and seeds is essential for good brain function.
- Avocado – promoting healthy blood flow, avocados help decrease blood pressure and enhance brain health.
- Beans – not only economical, but also highly beneficial for the brain, beans can help balance glucose levels.
- Dark chocolate – well known for containing caffeine, not many people know that dark chocolate is the best resource for strong antioxidants. It helps with concentration, and encourages endorphin production, but should be consumed in moderation.
- Tea – freshly brewed tea has more benefits than we can imagine. You should steer away from powder or bottle tea if you want to get a great source of antioxidants in your body. Tea helps by improving focus and mood.
- Pomegranate juice – fights free radicals and promotes brain health due to its powerful antioxidants.
Foods to avoid
- Canned tomatoes – the tomatoes’ acidity can cause the harmful lining of the can to sneak its way into your food.
- Microwave popcorn – the bag comprises dangerous compounds which can vaporize in the microwave and get into the popcorn.
- Corn fed beef – cattle are supposed to eat grass, not grains. The latter are now used to make cows get fat faster. As a consequence, the beef loses most of its nutritious values.
Eating food for the brain might not offer results over night, but in the long run, you’ll start noticing small changes. With moderation and a balanced diet you can make sure you’re taking the right steps to protect your brain from free radicals and even keep Alzheimer’s and dementia at arm’s length.
For more information about brain health, check out All You Need to Know about Brain Health.