It’s no secret that we need food to keep our brains and bodies in good condition. What remains a secret to some people, though, is which foods are best for keeping your brain healthy.
It’s possible – and it’s even recommended – to get all your brain’s nutrients from a vegan diet. It’s true that some non-vegan foods, particularly fish, are great for your brain, but you can get the same nutrients that they provide from other sources. The following are some of the best sources!
Avocados are one of nature’s best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are crucial for the proper function of our brains.
Since our brain is mostly made of fat, it makes sense that we need to eat a regular amount of fat for it to work well. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to start shoveling burgers and fries down your gullet, though. There are different types of fats, and the omega-3 family contains some of the best that you can eat as far as helping your brain goes. Other good natural sources of omega-3s include coconut oil and olive oil.
Broccoli is well-known as a superfood – we’ve been told since childhood to eat our broccoli. There are a few reasons behind that.
Broccoli is a great source of a whole bunch of different nutrients, including but not limited to vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins, and iron. It’s also a great source of fiber, which helps clear the body of waste products that could be a hindrance to the function of your brain.
The B-vitamins are patricularly useful in the case of broccoli. They’re largely responsible for the proper metabolization of carbohydrates. Carbs are turned into energy which subsequently fuels our body, including – you guessed it – your brain. Without B vitamins, your entire body would slow down, and your brain would certainly feel some cognitive deficits.
3. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are generally also great sources of omega-3s. They typically have a similar nutritional profile to avocados, which includes large amounts of vitamin B6 and vitamin E. As we’ve mentioned, the B vitamins are crucial for maintaining good brain health.
Vitamin E is of particular interest here because of its antioxidant function. It targets free radicals in the brain and is considered an effective supplement for preventing the onset of mental illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Nuts and seeds are much healthier if you soak them, because they contain some compounds known as anti-nutrients, many of which are soluble in water.
Spinach is another great brain food. It’s good for similar reasons to nuts and seeds – it contains a lot of vitamin E, as well as huge amounts of iron and a good amount of folate. Spinach has been shown to reduce the onset of dementia. It’s also known to slow the growth of cancerous cells and prevent damage to the structure of DNA.
5. Beans, lentils, and legumes
These are hard-hitters in terms of how much they help the brain function. Most of them share similar nutritional profiles, though they differ slightly from bean to bean.
These nutrients usually include a lot of folate and a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which work together to protect and enhance the function of the brain.
All of them contain complex carbohydrates, as well. Complex carbs are digested much more slowly than refined carbs such as those you find in white bread, chips, and most other “white” foods or foods made from processed grains. Complex carbs ensure that your brain gets a long-lasting, constant stream of glucose, which the brain needs in order to function. They also do this without causing blood sugar spikes which can be detrimental not only to the brain but to the whole body.
Blueberries, and several other families of dark berries like blackberries and goji berries, are great for the brain. Dark berries contain a huge amount of antioxidants and are commonly indicated in reducing the onset of dementia and other brain-related disorders.
Berries and other vegetarian foods contain nutrients known as phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients). Some of these phytonutrients, particularly those in blueberries, have been studied in relation to the brain. Blueberries and their antioxidants are shown to increase memory, verbal fluidity, and other cognitive abilities.
Rosemary’s not much of a food on its own, but it can certainly be added to a ton of different foods so you can reap its benefits. These benefits – which can sometimes be gained to a certain extent just by smelling the plant – include increasing blood flow to the brain.
Getting enough blood flow to and from your brain is crucial. Without it, your brain won’t have the necessary fuel to perform all the complex tasks it has to do every second. Rosemary also contains phytonutrients that can provide you with extra energy.
To wrap it all up
It’s important to know what kinds of foods are great for your body, but just as important to know which ones are good for your brain. It’s already common practice to take care of your body by eating a good diet, but the trend of using your diet to improve the function of your brain is fairly recent.
There are a lot of foods out there that work really well for improving brain function. Most of these, conveniently for vegetarians, happen to be organic. Mother Nature really wanted us to be sharp and smart, but with the advent of processed foods we’ve taken a turn in the wrong direction.
Hopefully this list has made an impact on you and will help you change your diet for the better!