Did you know that what you eat can help you maintain a healthy brain by optimizing its function and improving your memory? If you aren’t sure where to start, here are the brain-boosting foods you should eat every day, plus some ideas for incorporating them into your meals.
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Salmon and other fatty fish such as tuna and mackerel are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. What does this mean for your brain, you ask? Without a diet rich in omega-3s, a human brain cannot function to its best potential. Salmon is incredibly versatile and works with many flavours (case in point: this Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Salmon makes the perfect weeknight meal). If fresh fish isn’t available, canned salmon is a convenient way to incorporate more of this healthy food into your diet.
Don’t ditch your java habit just yet! Research shows that coffee drinkers reduce their odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life, so don’t be afraid to enjoy a warm cup of coffee at your home coffee station in the morning. Not a coffee drinker? Try this Healthy Chocolate Tahini Coffee Granola instead.
Eating blackberries can help the brain soak up new information. The fruit contains polyphenols that encourage communication between neurons, allowing the brain to be more open to learning new things. Add some to your morning yogurt or serve them as part of a simple dessert like Anna Olson’s Peach Blackberry Trifles.
Turmeric has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and depression. In studies, the vibrant yellow spice has been shown to improve memory function and help clear amyloid plaques in people with Alzheimer’s disease. For those with depression, it can help boost mood-improving serotonin and dopamine. It may even aid in the growth of new brain cells. Add it to a curry or whip up this cool and refreshing Easy Cold-Busting Citrus Smoothie Recipe.
The monounsaturated fats in avocados help improve blood flow, which then contributes to a healthy and happy brain. How can you add more avocado to your plate? You can never go wrong with the simplicity of something like Anna Olson’s Healthy Avocado Dip and Dressing.
Need an excuse to eat chocolate all the time? Here’s your meal ticket! Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that are a type of antioxidant said to keep a healthy brain. These same flavonoids can be found in grapes, red wine, beer and apples. Savour a square with your afternoon coffee or try it in this gorgeous Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Pie.
Often referred to as the “brain” berry, this fruit is high in antioxidants, which promote a powerful and healthy mind. Try this delightful Blueberry Skyr Cheesecake to get your blueberry fix.
Beans and Legumes
An excellent source of complex carbohydrates, beans and most legumes help provide a steady supply of glucose for the brain. The glucose is used for energy and keeps the brain focused for a longer period of time. Reach for that can of chickpeas for an excellent source of magnesium, which aids in blood flow to the brain. Or try making white beans the star of your plate with this quick (and delicious) 20-Minute Tuscan White Bean Skillet Dinner.
Loaded with zinc, these tasty seeds can help enhance memory and thinking skills. Enjoy them roasted as a simple snack, or add them to this Easy No-Bake Pumpkin & Dark Chocolate Granola Bars for a yummy (and convenient) treat.
Tell the kids they’re eating brain food next time you serve up broccoli at dinner. This green veggie is filled with antioxidants and plant compounds called carotenoids that are highly protective of the brain. Want a flavour-filled broccoli recipe? Try this 30-Minute Harissa Tofu & Broccoli Sheet-Pan Meal with Sumac Cucumber Salad — it’s quick, easy and tasty.
Eggs are rich in B vitamins and choline, which are all tied to brain health. Egg yolks are high in choline, the micronutrient that helps regulate your mood, memory and mental function, while B vitamins slow the progression of age-related mental decline. Want to eat more eggs? Start by mastering this creamy Spinach and Leek Shakshuka.
A cup of simple green tea or matcha has several brain-boosting benefits. Caffeine aids alertness and focus, antioxidants support brain function and the amino acid L-theanine can help reduce anxiety. While brewing a pot of green tea is the easiest way to enjoy it, you can also bake it into these Matcha and White Chocolate Oat Muffins for a yummy breakfast.