In our 20’s and 30’s we don’t put much thought into how we can prevent health issues down the road, but now is the time to really focus on living a preventative lifestyle (especially to protect our noggin). In my recent episode on Living Healthy Chicago, I talk about different brain boosting food groups that prevent health issues with our think tank.
You can check out the entire segment here, and I also put together 2 recipes below that have brain boosting nutrients that give you energy and clarity. So let’s break down the different food categories that prevent cognitive decline as we age (aka improving our memory), and more!
Brain Boosting Foods
Foods that help boost memory and prevent memory loss as we age:
Vitamin E: A very important nutrient that protects the neurons in your brain cells from dying is vitamin E. This vitamin may also lower the chance of cognitive decline. You can find vitamin E in dark leafy greens, avocado, and nuts and seeds. To ensure that you’re getting enough vitamin E in your system each day, make a big salad with an olive oil based dressing or sprinkle it with walnuts.
Rosemary: This herb contains an acid that’s linked to protecting cells in your brain from dying off. One study showed that inhaling a rosemary infusion improved the memory capabilities of subjects – you can read more about it here. So if you’re thinking about dabbling in aromatherapy of buying an essential oil diffuser for your office, try adding some drops of rosemary oil to your blend to keep your brain in tip top shape.
Foods to fight stress and slow brain aging:
Antioxidants: Because our brain is made of primarily fatty components, it’s susceptible to oxidative damage. By incorporating foods high in antioxidants in your diet, you’ll be protecting your brain from oxidation and can slow the aging process. Damage from free radicals in your brain can have its effects such as brain fog, anxiety, and even more serious disorders as you get older. So incorporate high antioxidant foods like blueberries, green tea, dark chocolate, and a variety of fruits and veggies into your diet to keep your noggin healthy.
Omega 3: The average human brain is 60% fat, so it’s imperative that we incorporate healthy fats into our diet to help maintain proper functioning of one of our most important organs! Lipids (fat) creates the outer membrane of our brain cells, so by eating foods that contain omega 3 like salmon, walnuts, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and avocado help support the structure of our brain.
Foods to help you stay sharp and focused:
Matcha tea: I’ve written about matcha before and I’ll write about it again and again. I’m truly obsessed. It’s my go-to afternoon pick me up that I can enjoy and still fall asleep at a decent hour. Have you ever had an afternoon coffee and then experienced insomnia all night? Yup, hasn’t happened yet when I have a cup of matcha. Matcha is bursting with antioxidants that helps protect our brain but even better is the fact that it gives us mental clarity and focus without the jitters. So next time, swap out your afternoon coffee for matcha and feel the difference. You can read more about the benefits of matcha in my article here.
Beets: When I was a child I used to look at beets with utter disgust thinking that it was food for grandmas, but not anymore! Beets contain natural nitrates that help increase blood flow to the brain, which can help improve our focus. I like adding beets to my morning juice (I juice together 2 cooked beets, 1 apple, spinach, lemon, and ginger), or you can chop up a few cooked beets and add it to a spinach salad.
Dark chocolate: My love for dark chocolate will never fade. Dark chocolate contains natural stimulants and a bit of caffeine that will give you a little burst of energy. Studies have shown that it also helps you increase endorphin levels which is a group of hormones that make you feel happy. When we’re feeling happy, we naturally have more energy and focus right? So grab a dark chocolate bar and enjoy a square, or two.
So there you have it! If you want to see the two recipes I created with these brain boosting ingredients, hop on over to my page on Living Healthy Chicago and get cookin’.