Simply put, your brain likes to eat. And it likes powerful
fuel: quality fats, antioxidants, and small, steady amounts
of the best carbs. The path to a bigger, better brain is
loaded with Omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and fiber. Give
your brain a kick start: eat the following foods on a daily
or weekly basis for results you will notice.
Start each day with a mix of high-quality protein and beneficial
fats to build the foundation for an energized day. Avocado
with scrambled eggs provides both, and the monounsaturated
fat helps blood circulate better, which is essential for
optimal brain function. Worst alternative: a trans-fat-filled,
sugar-laden cream cheese Danish.
Green it: you dont
need to buy an organic avocado conventional is fine.
But make sure your supplementary protein is free range,
cage free, or organic.
These delicious berries are one of the best foods for you,
period, but theyre very good for your brain as well.
Since theyre high in fiber and low on the glycemic
index, they are safe for diabetics and they do not spike
blood sugar. Blueberries
are possibly the best brain food on earth: they have been
linked to reduced risk for Alzheimers, shown to improve
learning ability and motor skills in rats, and they are
one of the most powerful anti-stress foods you can eat.
Avoid: dried, sweetened blueberries.
Green it: buy local
and organic, and be mindful of seasonality. When blueberries
are out of season, opt for cranberries, grapes, goji berries,
blackberries or cherries to get your brain boost.
3. Wild Salmon
fatty acids are essential for your brain. These beneficial
fats are linked to improved cognition and alertness, reduced
risk of degenerative mental disease (such as dementia),
improved memory, improved mood, and reduced depression,
anxiety and hyperactivity. Wild salmon is a premium source,
but well highlight a few other sources on this list
for vegetarians and people who just dont like salmon.
Avoid farmed (read: sea lice infested) salmon.
Green it: the California
salmon stock is threatened, so choose wild Alaskan salmon
only, and eat small portions no more than twice a week.
Nuts contain protein, high amounts of fiber, and they are
rich in beneficial fats. For getting an immediate energy
boost that wont turn into a spike later, you cant
do better than nuts. The complex carbs will perk you up
while the fat and protein will sustain you. Nuts
also contain plenty of vitamin E, which is essential to
cognitive function. You dont have to eat raw, plain,
unsalted nuts, but do avoid the ones with a lot of sweetening
or seasoning blends. Filberts, hazelnuts, cashews, and walnuts
are great choices, with almonds being the king of nuts.
For those avoiding carbs, macadamia nuts are much higher
in fat than most nuts. By the way, peanuts just arent
ideal. Aside from the fact that many people are allergic,
peanuts have less healthy fat than many other types of nuts
thats because peanuts are not actually a nut! Theyre
still much better than a candy bar, however.
Green it: try to choose
organic, raw nuts, and if you cant get those, at least
avoid the tins of heavily-seasoned, preservative-laden nuts
that may have taken many food miles to get to your mouth.
Try sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and tahini
(a tangy, nutty sesame butter that tastes great in replacement
of mayo and salad dressing). Seeds
contain a lot of protein, beneficial fat, and vitamin E,
as well as stress-fighting antioxidants and important brain-boosting
minerals like magnesium.
Green it: Again, just
look for organic and try to avoid the highly-seasoned, processed
options. In general, things like fruits, vegetables, seeds
and nuts are pretty low-impact, environmentally speaking,
in comparison to meats and cheeses.
Natures scrub brush is one of the best foods for
cardiovascular health, which translates to brain health.
is packed with fiber, a reasonable amount of protein, and
even a small amount of Omega-3s. Its a good
grain that will sustain you throughout the morning so you
arent prone to irritability or an energy crash.
Green it: the healthiest
oatmeal is the real, steel-cut deal. Steer clear of those
little microwavable packets that are loaded with sugar.
All that packaging isnt very green.
Opt for the fruit over the juice so you get more fiber.
contain blueberry-like levels of antioxidants, which are
essential for a healthy brain. Your brain is the first organ
to feel the effects of stress, so anything you can do to
offset stress is a smart choice.
Green it: pomegranates
are seasonal and not generally local for most of us, so
enjoy sparingly and rely on other berries like acai, grapes
and cherries when you cant get this fruit.
the fresher the better is one of the most
potent nutritional weapons in your arsenal. Eat it as
much as your significant other can stand. Not only is
it fabulous for reducing bad cholesterol and strengthening
your cardiovascular system, it exerts a protective antioxidant
effect on the brain.
Avoid: I know it makes life easier, but dont even
think about buying the chopped or peeled garlic. Nutritional
benefits = zero.
Green it: just choose
organic, and go for local if you can get it.
9. Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, kale, chard, romaine, arugula, lolla rossa
whatever green you like, eat it daily. Green,
leafy vegetables are high in iron (slightly less "green"
iron sources include beef, pork and lamb). Americans tend
to be deficient in iron, which is too bad, because the
deficiency is linked to restless leg syndrome, fatigue,
poor mood, foggy thinking, and other cognition issues.
Green it: choose organic,
and shop at your farmers market or order from a local
CSA. Leave out the red meat a few days a week and rely on
a big, well-seasoned green stir fry or salad.
10. Cacao nibs
Cacao nibs are among the top five most powerful brain
foods, right next to wild salmon and blueberries.
Green it: as long as
its fair trade and organic, its green.
Go figure, but tomatoes dont usually make the brain-boosting
food lists. Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant
that is particularly good for your brain it even
helps prevent dementia. You have to cook tomatoes to get
the lycopene. But this does mean that ketchup is good
for your brain. Although because of the sugar in it, you
should look to other sources for most of your lycopene
intake, such as fresh tomato sauce.
Green it: try to
eat tomatoes that are local and get your lycopene in vitamin
form when tomatoes arent in season. Youll
know when that is the tomatoes will be pale, tasteless,
12. Olive Oil
Though we know the brain does need a small, steady supply
of glucose, dont overlook fat. Studies have consistently
shown that a low-fat diet is not the health boon we hoped
it would be (remember the 90s low-fat craze?). In fact,
avoiding fat can increase foggy thinking, mood swings,
and insomnia. A diet rich in healthy fats is essential
to clear thinking, good memory, and a balanced mood. Your
brain is made of fat, after all.
One study of men found that those who relied on the processed
vegetable fats found in salad dressings, snacks and prepared
foods had 75% higher rates of mental degradation (dementia,
memory loss) than men who ate healthy fats. Most processed
foods and fast foods use corn oil, palm oil, soybean oil
and other Omega-6 fats. You dont want Omega 6 fats.
Even saturated fat is safer than Omega 6s.
Choose healthy fats such as those present in olive oil,
nut butters, nuts and seeds, flax, oily fish, and avocados.
Avoid processed fats found in pastries, chips, candy bars,
snacks, junk food, fried foods and prepared foods. Eating
the wrong fat can literally alter your brains communication
Green it: look for
organic, local, or farmers market options when it
comes to your food. You should also explore herbal remedies
for mood swings and brain health.
You have to brew tea fresh or you wont get the
benefits of all those catechines (antioxidants) that boost
your brain. Because tea has caffeine, dont have
more than 2-3 cups daily.
Green it: buy organic,
fair trade loose leaf or packets to support sustainable