Your brain is arguably the most complex organ in your body. There, you store memories, images, process thoughts, relay messages for movement and control all of your body’s functions! Despite its many responsibilities in running your body, it is often the organ likely ignored when evaluating your diet. Just like your other muscles, your brain requires certain nutrients and a lot of energy to properly function and keep your mind sharp. Curious what foods can help maximize your brain power? Here are 5 you’ll want to incorporate ASAP!
Fatty fish like salmon should definitely be apart of your regular meal plan if it isn’t already. It makes our list of brain power foods primarily because of its omega-3 fatty acid content. Salmon is a particularly rich source of DHA and EPA, two powerful forms of omega-3 fatty acids. Both of which are found in the brain and help to make sure messages are transferred from one area to the next. Not only are these Omega-3s important for adults, but DHA and EPA are essential for brain development in children! All around, a GREAT nutrient for the whole family!
Other foods that can also contribute to your omega-3 fatty acid daily intake: Avocado, Chia seeds, whole nuts, canned tuna and herring
Complex carbohydrates are the superstar nutrient for brain function and concentration. Your brain is no different than other moving, working organs in your body and requires just as much, if not more, energy to work. That specific energy best comes from complex carbohydrates (like whole wheat bread or pasta), which unlike simple carbohydrates (think table sugar and white bread) are slower to digest. This means a more steady supply of energy and better mood throughout the day. Talk about a win for you and your colleagues, right?
Other foods that can also contribute to your complex carbohydrate intake: Sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, quinoa
Blueberries have celebrity status in the world of food. They are loved not only for their flavor, but their rich antioxidant content too. Not only that, they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals! Research shows that the high flavonoid content in blueberries may improve long and short-term memory in healthy individuals, as well as those suffering from dementia. The great thing too is that you don’t need a TON of blueberries to maximize your health. Instead, look for ways to incorporate the 1 cup recommended serving into your day. Blueberries work well in…. oatmeal, yogurt and cottage cheese!
Other foods that can also contribute to your antioxidant intake: Cooked Artichoke, Raspberries, Cranberries and Strawberries
Egg whites are often the notable portion of an egg; however, when it comes to brain health, the yolk is pretty important too! Yolks contain choline, folate and vitamin B12 – nutrients all suggested to help with cognitive function. So do your brain a favor and consider a whole-egg based breakfast to start your day off right.
Other foods that can help you incorporate these essential nutrients: Spinach, Pork and Salmon
One of watermelon’s best attributes is its high water content! Staying hydrated is incredibly important for overall health, but where our brain is concerned, not getting enough liquids in our day can negatively impact mood, concentration, focus and motivation. Keep your water levels up by drinking 8-13 eight ounce servings per day.
Other foods that can help you stay hydrated this summer: Cucumbers, Celery, Broccoli and Grapefruits
Looking for creative ways to incorporate these brain-boosting foods into your day? Grab our latest handout!
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. For more information Alzheimer’s disease or to support the Alzheimer’s Organization, please visit http://www.alz.org.