Practicing a healthy diet is more than counting calories – it’s about choosing the foods that will most fully benefit your body and mind. These brain foods have the power to build your brain up and prevent cognitive decline and the onset of crippling conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
Antioxidants, monounsaturated fats and omega-3s are big health buzzwords that have one thing in common – they do great things for your body and nourish your brain. Giving your brain the nutrients it needs is essential to longevity. Keep this list of foods handy and make sure to refuel your brain often. It will thank you later.
- Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain. Glucose, a sugar and key source of energy for cells in the body, is the only fuel your brain can use. The high fiber content of lentils is a key component in keeping your brain in optimal shape. The fiber regulates the release of the glucose, providing a steady stream of fuel that powers your brain cells. Click here for a delicious lentil recipe.
- Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and have been found to keep the arteries of the brain clear of plaque. They nourish the brain by helping communication between brain cells. Sprinkle some into your yogurts, cereals and salads, or munch on them alone.
- Brazil nuts are an excellent source of healthy, or monounsaturated, fats. They are also high in magnesium, a mineral that’s essential to the transmission of signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Almonds, walnuts and cashews are also excellent brain foods. Eat a fistful of brazil nuts or mixed nuts a day.
- Coffee can protect the brain. One study found that coffee can help keep the blood-brain barrier intact; this barrier acts as a coating, and protects the brain from unwanted materials and damaging elements, like harmful cholesterol. Another study showed that coffee may also improve short-term memory. Coffee is high in antioxidants; Americans get most of their antioxidants from coffee. Drinking one or two cups a day is healthy, just remember to use modest amounts of milk and sugar.