It is a given that diet is closely linked to maintaining a fit and healthy body. Similarly, our brain requires specific foods to keep it functioning at an optimum level. More importantly, I believe that Brain Foods should be an essential part of our diet.
Essential Brain Foods
Brain Foods, as well as Superfoods, can help maintain healthy brain function and increase concentration levels, which is especially important for young children. Through a well-balanced diet, which includes a selection of these foods, you can also help prevent the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
So what, you may ask, are some of these amazing Brain Foods, which are going to help you grow-up little Einsteins? I have compiled a list of my top 10 Essential Brain Foods.
Avocados are a definite family favourite in our home. Although they are high in fat, it is the healthy monounsaturated fat, which helps keep blood sugar regulated. Avocados also contain vitamin K and folate, which helps prevent blood clots in the brain, as well as improving memory and concentration.
Not only are berries a great source of vitamins and fibre, but they are also high in flavonoids, which is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight off free radicals and protect your brain cells from memory loss and premature ageing. Berries are also an excellent source of resveratrol, which can enhance brain function and memory, as you age.
Broccoli is a vegetable we eat often. It is great to add to a curry or pasta and even better enjoyed raw in a salad. It has super brain-boosting powers and is high in vitamin K, choline and vitamin C.
Coconut Oil has so many amazing benefits and uses. It works as a natural anti-inflammatory and can help with memory retention as you age. Coconut oil is also considered to be a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s patients.
Dark Chocolate is one of my favourite Brain Foods! However, to reap the rewards, the chocolate must contain a minimum of 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate is full of flavonoids, which have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12 and omega three fatty acids. Egg yolks contain significant amounts of choline, which helps fetal brain development.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
As with Avocados, Olive Oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which improve memory and other cognitive functions. Olive oil also contains significant amounts of vitamin E and K, both essential for memory retention.
Pumpkins seeds are one of my favourite snacks. They are also really great to sprinkle over your breakfast or equally delicious over salads. Pumpkin seeds contain both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which help improve mental health, memory retention and healthy brain development. They are also full of zinc, B vitamins and the amino acid tryptophan, which acts as a natural mood regulator, as it increases the production of serotonin.
Salmon is packed full of omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain growth and function. It is also an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and selenium. It is a fantastic idea to try and get kids to eat salmon for breakfast, as it can help improve both concentration and memory, which are essential for learning. The only downside is the high price tag – more affordable options such as mackerel and sardines are also excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
This versatile green leafy vegetable is rich in the antioxidant lutein, which helps prevent cognitive decline. Spinach also contains high levels of vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin K, folate and beta-carotene. Folate is particularly beneficial, as it helps synthesise and regulate the chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which send messages between brain cells.
Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle does require a bit more effort and planning but it is worth it in the long run. These are a few of the amazing brain-boosting foods that we love; please feel free to share any that you include in your diet.
The benefits of a healthy balanced diet are considerable, but it is also important to include physical activity in your daily or weekly routine. I also believe that supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals is important to boost your immune system and stay healthy. It is also essential to have adequate Medical Aid cover, especially if you have a young family.
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