What is Brain Foods?

Did you know that the brain uses more than 20% of our caloric needs?

Our brain is a big deal!

It acts as the control center of our body, it’s in charge of keeping our heart and lungs working, also allowing us to move, feel and most importantly think. That’s why is so important to eat for our memory, mood, and focus to be at our optimal level.

There is no magic solution for preventing us from suffering a cognitive decline but research has found that processes that happen inside our bodies that lead to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have been caused by chronic inflammation of the brain cells and blood vessels when our body is breaking down unhealthy foods.

Most of the American diet is contained many processed foods, such as grains, refined sugar, salt, unhealthy oils and fats, additives, and preservatives, which have been shown to harm our brains and body.

We should aim to follow dietary habits that include lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats. AVOID saturated fats!

Some of the best brain foods according to Harvard Health University:

Green, Leafy vegetables: kale, spinach, broccoli, and collards-are high in vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene. They protect our brains against inflammation and neuronal damage.

Fatty Fish: they are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy unsaturated fats that lower our blood levels of beta-amyloid (toxic proteins). Choose a variety that is low in mercury such as salmon, cod, and canned light tuna, and include them in your diet at least twice a week. For those who dislike eating fish, you can include plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids including flaxseeds, avocado, walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and seaweed.

Berries: They contain flavonoids which is a natural pigment of the fruit that has been not only shown to improve our memory but also protect our brain from oxidative stress (imbalance between free radicals – oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons and antioxidants in your body that allows those uneven molecules to react with other molecules causing a large chemical reaction to our body).

Tea and Coffee: Our favorite boost energy solution! Caffeine has been shown to solidify new memories and a study published on Nov. 16, 2021, in PLOS Medicine found that drinking coffee and tea helps reduce the risk of dementia. Why is that? Coffee and tea contain polyphenols (a plant chemical that helps fight chronic inflammation which has been associated with dementia.) Try to include coffee or tea in your morning adults can safely consume max 400 milligrams of caffeine each day.

Walnuts: All the nuts are my top and favorite source of healthy fats and plant protein. But walnut in particular has been shown to improve our memory. They are high in a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which research has shown to lower blood pressure and clean our arteries from bad toxins.

There are so many foods that help our brain function properly, there is no magic pill but if we could contribute in the least to reduce our risk of developing any neurological disease, we should take it. Exercise, sleep, social life, stress control, and environmental toxins are just important as what we eat, so try to combine as much as you can in your daily habits.

“Sufficient sleep, exercise, health food, friendship and peace of mind are necessities, not luxuries” – Mark Halperin.

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