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September 11, 2015 • Brain Health

Five Foods Your Brain Loves and Why


Diet has a profound impact on the structure, function, and health of our brains. Here are 5 foods your brain loves and why.

  1. Salmon: Salmon, particularly wild salmon, is arguably the highest quality protein for brain health. This oily fish is the richest source of the all-important, but difficult to come by omega 3 fats, DHA and EPA. These vital fats are critical for both healthy brain structure and optimal brain function. As a huge added bonus, salmon is also an outstanding source of five other key brain nutrients: magnesium, B-vitamins, zinc, Vitamin D and choline. Because it is so clean and sustainable, wild salmon is preferred to farmed salmon.
  2. Avocados:  Avocados are a supreme food for brain health.  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 a bevy of several of the brains most valued nutrients including: folate, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and copper. For healthy icing on the cake, they also provide loads of antioxidant carotenoids.
  3. Walnuts: All nuts are exceptional brain foods, but walnuts are the cream of the crop. Like other nuts, walnuts are rich in several nutrients instrumental for brain health, including essential amino acids, vitamin E, a full spectrum of minerals, and B vitamins. In addition, walnuts also offer a hefty dose of omega 3 fats along with especially potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant plant compounds called polyphenols. (For many reasons, the brain is uniquely vulnerable to damaging oxidation and inflammation.)
  4. A prudent portion of dark chocolate.  When it comes to brain health, dark chocolate really is a desert you can indulge in without the guilt! Thanks to its exceedingly high levels of plant antioxidants called flavanols, along with its generous supply of magnesium, zinc, and fiber – dark chocolate is fabulous for brain health. In fact, dark chocolate is the only food I am aware of that has been shown to acutely boost both mood and focus. And if you eat a prudent portion (up to one ounce daily) of high cacao dark chocolate (72% or greater) it barely makes a dent in your daily sugar quota.
  5. Turmeric and curry. These Indian spices are prized for their bountiful supply of the golden yellow pigment, curcumin.  Curcumin is one of most potent, naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agents ever identified. Because we now know that inflammation is the “universal brain destructor” – curry and turmeric are likely the very best spices for brain health. Honestly, I do not know of any other two second activity (shake, shake) that can provide a more healthy brain return for the effort.