Did you know that 20% of your daily calories go to your brain?
Feed it “the right stuff” and it will give you mental focus, optimal memory, less mood swings and the feeling that you can tackle the tasks of the day!
There are 4 categories of nutrients to keep that brain functioning beautifully:
Poor carbs – they got such a bad rap in the last few years.
But carbohydrates can be good because they are necessary!
Your brain uses glucose (sugar) as its primary nourishment. That’s right – you need carbs in order to feel focused. Carbohydrates support the nervous system, which is key as your brain is filled with neurotransmitters – the cells that make everything happen in your brain.
To add the best carbs to your diet, choose:
- Colourful vegetables
- Fruit: berries
- Whole grains: brown rice, sprouted grains, dark rye bread
- Sweet potatoes
- Legumes: lentils, chick peas, red kidney beans
2. B Vitamins
Super critical to your brain health, B vitamins support the neurotransmitters of your brain, and your entire nervous center.
- Dark leafy vegetables: swiss chard, kale
- Beef, liver, chicken
- Legumes: black beans, navy beans
- Brewer’s yeast
3. Omega 3s
While your brain feeds on glucose, 70% of it is actually made of fat! So, it is critical to feed it the right type of fat, specifically Omega 3 fatty acids.
Fish is one of the most important brain foods because of its content in Omega 3s. Cold water fish twice a week has been shown to help decrease depression, improve memory, and enhance sleep.
And no worries if you are not a fan of fish, or are vegetarian. Omega 3s also come in plant form, but in very small quantities so best to supplement if that is the case.
You can also use a good quality omega-3 supplement.
Cold water fish: mackerel, tuna, salmon, trout, sardines
Walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds
Random fact: flax seeds must be ground in order for the body to get its health benefits.
There has been a LOT of talk about probiotics and that is good news! Think of probiotics as the nourishment for your healthy gut bacteria which influences key body functions:
- The hormone serotonin is made 80% in the gut! This critical hormone regulates mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire & function. Without a healthy “gut” from good bacteria, this critical hormone is compromised.
- Your gut contains billions of bacteria – some good, some bad. Probiotics fight the “bad” bacteria and toxins and builds your immunity.
- A lot of our food nutrients get absorbed in the gut; a healthy one means that we can absorb nutrients effectively.
- Yogurt (plain if possible), kefir
Foods can also cause a brain drain!
As you can see, what we choose on a daily basis can significantly improve our brain performance.
Just like an athlete that trains his body, we have the ability to boost our brain power. One last tip: include green tea in your daily ritual. It’s filled with flavonoids which are proven to keep you alert without the jitters.