Eating superfoods will give you superpowers. Not the Superman or Ironman superpowers, but health superpowers. The ones we’ve been craving, especially now during the pandemic. March is National Nutrition Month and the perfect time to reevaluate what you’re eating and how you’re fueling your body and soul.
Your brain is one of those organs you absolutely can’t live without and that’s why you should take care of it by fueling it with nutrients and nourishing foods. Nutrition and mental health are deeply intertwined.
Here are some brain foods that will give you guaranteed superpowers.
1. Fatty Fish (Omega 3s)
Ever heard of Omega 3 fatty acid and brain function? I hear it all the time and for good reason.
Did you know that your brain is over 60% composed of fats, and Omega 3 is a half of it? No wonder salmon, trout, and sardines are the most important fish you could include in your diet. These acids are important in production of brain nerves, and they’re vital for memory and learning.
And that is not all. There are a lot of benefits of omega-3.
Omega 3s protect your brain from decline and help you stay sharp all while improving your mood.
If coffee is the first thing you think about when you open your eyes in the morning, you’ll be happy to find out that it is exactly what your brain needs.
Caffeine and antioxidants—two main ingredient in coffee—can help your brain with a number of things, such as:
- Alertness: adenosine is the messenger that makes you want to take a nap or just go back to bed after you’ve already gotten up in the morning. Caffeine keeps your brain alert and awake.
- A “feel-good” mood: Caffeine also boosts your happy hormones, like serotonin.
- Concentration: studies show that people who drink one cup of coffee in the morning and smaller portions throughout the day are more effective at tasks that need concentration.
Also, drinking coffee helps prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Now isn’t that good news for National Nutrition Month!
Apart from the fact that they’re basically a dessert, if you’re a fan, like me, you’ll be glad to know that they’re a great booster for your brain health.
They are filled with antioxidants, a vital factor in fighting off inflammation and oxidative stress.
Studies show that eating blueberries on a regular basis can help improve memory.
A spice to help your brain health? Absolutely!
There are so many health benefits of turmeric, and make no mistake that this deep-yellow spice will directly enter your brain by crossing the blood-brain barrier, helping the life of brain cells.
Turmeric has a proven track record of helping people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease with memory loss. It can help with depression and anxiety because it boosts the levels of your happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine. So as you’re experimenting with new recipes during National Nutrition Month, kick up your flavors with this healthful spice.
Not everyone is a fan of this green veggie. But that’s because they’re not aware of the benefits it has for their brain health.
Apart from the fact that it’s packed with antioxidants, it is also very high in Vitamin K, which initially helps your brain with memory.
It is also packed with anti-inflammatory compounds that may help protect the brain against damage.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are the king in the healthy world of chips. When you feel like biting into something, instead of that greasy bag of potato chips, go for pumpkin seeds. Adding them to your breakfast or a smoothie is also a great option.
Apart from the antioxidant part of protecting your brain, they are also jam packed with iron, zink, copper, and magnesium.
Iron deficiency often causes brain fog or impaired brain function, while magnesium is vital for learning and memory. Zinc is essential for normal brain function, and copper controls your nerve signals. When copper deficient, there is an increased risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s.
7. Dark Chocolate
Okay, I know how counterintuitive this may sound, but dark chocolate is your brain’s best friend.
It is packed with antioxidants, caffeine, and flavonoids—compounds in charge of your memory and learning. Dark chocolate is also a great mood booster, so next time you’re feeling low, know that you shouldn’t feel guilty for eating that chocolate bar. You can even use National Nutrition Month as an excuse to add a little guilt-free dark chocolate to your diet.
Having a healthy heart is linked to having a healthy brain. And luckily, nuts are your heart’s most genuine supporters!
Studies show that women who ate nuts more regularly for several years have a sharper memory compared to those that didn’t consume nuts at all. They are full of healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E—your brain’s biggest protector from free radical damage. Adding a handful of walnuts to your daily diet will help protect your brain even more, because walnuts have an added feature of containing Omega 3s.
Only one orange is enough to supplement a daily need for vitamin C. Isn’t that great news?
Vitamin C is considered a great asset in preventing mental decline. It helps fight off free radicals that cause brain damage, and it also helps prevent age-related problems.
Aside from oranges, a high percentage of vitamin C can be found in strawberries, kiwis, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
This amazing food contains choline and lutein—two main nutrients when it comes to brain health.
Choline is an essential nutrient in fetal development and throughout your lifespan. The bad thing is that our bodies cannot produce enough of it, but the good news is that we can find it in eggs.
Lutein is something you can find in carrots also, and it is usually called the eye nutrient because it protects your eyes. Its role in eye health is vital, and it also helps brain function.
There are so many ways to add eggs to your diet, from scrambled eggs to making egg soup, there’s literally a recipe for everyone on the internet.