Thinking About Brain Food

By: JOY MIHANNI

Edited By: ARYA ROERIG

Certain foods can give you brain power! In fact, your brain can actually burn up to 100 calories per hour just by thinking! It’s important to load our bodies with healthy and nutritious foods because our brains, like our bodies, need nutrition to stay active. The more vitamins and nutrients that our foods contain, the more likely we are to perform at both our mental and physical peak.

I’m sure you’ve heard the age old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Why is that, though? The healthy antioxidants that make up apples actually help protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases (in layman terms: the things that causes the brain to wear-down), such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. They also help protect against damage by bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Another great fruit to help feed our brains are berries which contain anti-oxidative compounds that can help prevent various kinds of brain damage from free-radicals (organic molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage, and possibly some diseases). Everything from memory loss to the risk of stroke can be reduced by eating just a handful or two a day.

There has always been a lot of hype about nuts, too, and for good reason. Nuts are extremely high in Vitamin E, which helps to decrease memory loss as we age. They are also full of healthy fats, which help the brain function normally. Walnuts and almonds are two of the best. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same kind of fat found in olive oil, which is great for lowering cholesterol levels, aiding weight loss and reducing the risk of breast cancer. Walnuts on the other hand, help brain cells communicate with each other and are essential to cognitive performance and nerve health.

Most of us don’t think of spices when it comes to food that will aid in keeping our brain healthy. However, Turmeric, a yellow spice found in curries, contains a phytochemical called curcumin which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is associated with dementia, stroke, and many other brain-related diseases. Adding some Turmeric to your diet and your brain will thank you later on.

Eggs are another brain food. They contain choline, which helps us retain knowledge, as well as amino acids, our protein building blocks. Another mind-healthy protein fix is salmon, or other oily fish rich in Omega-3s, which help our nerve cells effectively communicate with one another improving memory and aids the learning process. Shellfish like oysters are also rich in iron and zinc, both of which help to keep your mind sharp and maintain your ability to concentrate.

It’s no surprise that the healthier we eat, the better we feel physically and mentally. So why not make a few small changes today, because you never know what a little extra brain power might do for you!

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