15 Oct Food for Thought (Literally)
Do you ever have days where you are struggling with mushy brain syndrome? You know that helpless feeling of staring at your to-do list, knowing you have to get things done but you can’t quite clear the cob webs from your brain? After a day like that, we got to thinking about the phrase “Food for Thought” – and recently decided to probe deeper. Are there foods out there that can help us think more clearly? Improve our memories? Our moods? Give us more energy and even make us smarter? Well to our delight and surprise, it turns out there are lots of them! Here’s the low down.
Our brains, just like the rest of our bodies thrive on a healthy diet and foods rich in antioxidants, Omega-3 fats and fiber. And it turns out that the very same foods that help to boost our body’s immune systems and promote a healthy heart also turn out to nurture the health of our brain’s neurotransmitters and give our minds a kick start! So the next time you are staring blankly at your screen trying to get your mind’s gears going, try some of these foods for a boost!
Nuts & Seeds: These delicious little treats are loaded with vitamin E and healthy fats, both associated with protecting your brain from cognitive decline. So go ahead an munch on an ounce or so of walnuts, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and whatever else you like. Nut butters are also good. Just watch out for too much salt and be mindful of your servings since nuts are caloric.
Avocados: Avocados are pretty amazing when it comes to brain health and the promotion of healthy blood flow which in turns improves oxygenation to your brain. The monounsaturated fatty acids found in avocados help to keep the brain flexible and also protects the brain’s nerve cells. So go on and enjoy some guacamole, add avocado to your sandwich, salad or just enjoy as is. Just like nuts though, limit your intake of this delicious food. 1/4 to 1/2 an Avocado will do the trick.
Whole Grains: Whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat and barley are loaded with fiber and phytonutrients which help to slow down your digestion and ensure a slow steady release of blood sugar and insulin. That is super important for your brain (as well as the rest of your system) to reduce oxidation and inflammation. They are also packed with vitamins that help to improve cognitive function.
Beans & Legumes: Did you know that your brain relies heavily on glucose to stay energized? Turns out that little tasty beans can help to provide a steady stream of glucose which in turn keeps you energized and clear headed. So go for that snack of hummus, or that cup of black bean or lentil soup.
Wild Berries: Delicious favorites like blueberries and strawberries turn out to be a double delight. One for our palette and one for our brain! Studies show that the vitamins and antioxidants found in wild berries, can decrease a type of stress in cells associated with aging and boost the signaling capabilities in brains.
Tea Time! Freshly brewed tea are packed with antioxidants and help to keep you hydrated. Many teas also contain modest amounts of caffeine which when ingested in moderation can help sharpen your focus, enhance your memory and even your mood. So drink up!
Dark Chocolate: In moderation (meaning a serving of 1/2 – 1 ounce), this tasty little treat can provide you with several naturally occurring stimulants which can help you concentrate and even elevate your mood. So go ahead and indulge but make sure not to overdo it.
Do you have any favorite brain foods that give you sustained energy? Let us know what works for you in the comments below!
Until the next time, bon appetite!
Until the next time, be happy, energized and productive!
Vivienne & Andrew, PBE Co-Founders