Brains are a big topic of conversation in the medical world today. With researchers and scientists wanting to learn more about degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lewy Body, we are making headway every day in our understanding of how the brain works and what helps it to function at its best.
If you are concerned with brain health, whether it is because you currently suffer from an illness or you have the genetic predisposition to get dementia later in life, you may feel worried about what you can do to help lay the groundwork for a healthy future. Fear not: You have something hiding in your pantry or awaiting purchase at your local grocery store that can help.
Food as medicine
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, famously stated, “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Despite the medical advances since his proclamation, we have lost touch with this concept. One look at the average American pantry – packed with processed and packaged foods – is all the evidence we need to understand how disconnected we are from the healthy bounty provided to us by the earth.
There are everyday foods that, when added to your diet, can decrease inflammation and even boost memory. Instead of going for the trendy superfoods, nutritionists suggest if you want to increase your brain health, eat foods every day that are easily accessible and can create a healthy foundation for your entire diet. For most people, this means sticking to lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
The key players
It turns out that foods that help your cardiovascular system are also supportive to healthy brain function. Some of the best foods to eat if you want to keep your mind sharp include:
- Dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli, and collards
- Fatty fish
- Tea and coffee
- Nuts and seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Cooking spices such as turmeric
These aren’t the only foods that boost your brain health, but they are certainly key players because of the array of vitamins and minerals they provide. For instance, eggs contain choline, an important micronutrient for healthy neurotransmitter function which contributes to better mood and memory. Simple citrus fruits like oranges contain the powerful antioxidant, vitamin C, which, believe it or not, can help to protect you against diseases like Alzheimer’s.
How to get them into your diet
Some of the big hitters on our list, like tea, coffee, and dark chocolate are a no-brainer when it comes to incorporating them into your daily diet. However, it could prove to be more difficult to get all the servings of other foods that you need to help boost your brain health and protect yourself against disease. That is why we have some great recipes below, guaranteed to trick your taste buds and help you to feel better about what you are putting in your body.
With healthy fats from avocado and a whopping dose of berry goodness, this smoothie is the perfect breakfast or snack for the whole family. Add in some chopped kale or spinach to make it an even more epic feast for your brain.
Want to get your dose of dark leafy greens, whole grains, legumes, and beat the end of summer heat? Treat yourself to one of these salads for lunch or a light dinner. Your whole body will be thanking you for the super dose of nutrients.
Need an easy way to add some veggies to your morning routine? Lean on the power of eggs as a delicious way to incorporate some spinach into your morning. Our egg friends are great for the brain, yes, but this breakfast will also leave you full, so you can focus more on your day than on your grumbling tummy.
It wouldn’t be a healthy brain blog without some chocolate to brighten things up. And look no further than this recipe for a healthy and decadent dessert. Made with maple syrup instead of sugar and only three ingredients, it keeps your inflammation at bay while throwing your taste buds a party.
These simple recipes are just a jumping off point to start using your pantry as your medicine cabinet. When it comes to brain health, it is important to remember that your everyday decisions add up over time to either create disease or help you avoid it. Start here with some delicious, nutritious brain fuel!