Top Foods for Brain Health
- Salmon: Salmon is exploding with the omega 3 fats that make up the majority of the solid structure of the brain and play a fundamental role in learning and cognition. In the brain, omega 3 fats, specifically DHA, are both the structural and functional “lynchpins” for learning. Wild Alaskan Salmon is my preferred choice which can frequently be found fresh and is always available canned or frozen. My kids love frozen salmon burgers from Costco!
- Nuts: Nuts score a perfect 10 when it comes to brain-boosting performance. They are rich in several nutrients that play a key role in healthy brain function, including essential amino acids, vitamin E, a full spectrum of minerals, and B vitamins.
- Beans: Beans are the most under-appreciated brain foods. Cheap, convenient, versatile and well-liked by most, beans are a brain-health winner. They provide a steady supply of the brain’s preferred source of fuel, glucose, along with loads of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and polyphenol antioxidants that the brain loves.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a highly nutritious source of brain fuel (glucose) delivered gently, but steadily. (The brain cannot stand high or low levels of blood glucose). Oatmeal is also a good source of B vitamins, vitamin E and key minerals.
- Avocados: Avocados are another totally under-appreciated brain health standout. A review of their nutritional profile reads straight from the winning play book of eating for optimal brain health. They are chock full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that promote healthy blood flow in the brain along with boatloads of the brains most valued nutrients including: folate, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and copper.
- Blueberries: This diminutive yet all powerful fruit should be called the brain berry. Blueberries give the brain a nice gradual dose of its must-have fuel (glucose) along with a massive hit of powerful antioxidants. The brain is uniquely susceptible to the ravages of oxidation and blueberries hold the number one spot in food with the most antioxidant power. In laboratory studies, blueberries were found to enhance the learning capacity and motor skills in aging rats. Best of all – they are delicious!. Any other berry is great too.
- A prudent portion of dark chocolate. This yummy food houses some of the most potent antioxidants ever discovered in nature along with several natural stimulants that can enhance focus and concentration. The modest sugar it provides can help fuel the brain too. I always give my kids 2-3 small pieces of dark chocolate to take during exams.
- Any form of dark leafy green (including spinach, kale, collards, Swiss chard and lettuce greens). The nutritional fire power in dark leafy greens is unrivaled. They provide the full spectrum of brain-protective nutrients, including a huge dose of vitamin C and vitamin A along with 18 essential nutrients. They are teeming with antioxidant phytochemicals and a bit of omega 3 fats as an added brain-health bonus.
- Wheat germ: Slightly sweet, yet nutty, wheat germ is a gem of a food for brain health. It is an excellent source of omega 3 fat, vitamin E and zinc – 3 nutrients required for brain function. Sadly, many people are deficient in these vital brain agents.