Hello friends! Are you busy with the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season? Are you attempting to juggle all of your various responsibilities? Afraid you will allow one of the MANY balls you keep in the air to drop because you’ve forgotten to do something, or buy that perfect present for Aunt Sally and therefore feel her wrath for the rest of your life? Or are you one of my many college student readers, and you’re trying to cram tons of knowledge into a brain that feels much too insufficient? Well, if you are feeling like this right now, (ME!!!!) take heart dear readers because I am going to impart some critical information that will help you deal. This post was written at the request of my stressed out college senior daughter, Jacqueline, who would love some nutritional help for her brain going into finals week.
The answer to improving brain health lies in the food we eat. Yes, that’s what I said, plain and simple food. However, it’s not just any food that will help your brain, but some specific foods which I’m going to share with you right now. Come along for the ride, I promise this will help you!
Top Brain Foods
1. Blueberries– I researched many resources in coming up with this list, and blueberries were at or near the top of every one. One reason is that they contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin which is thought to cross the blood brain barrier, protect brain cells from oxidation and boost communication between brain neurons. A Harvard University study found that women over 70 who consumed 1/2 cup of blueberries twice a week remained sharper mentally than women who didn’t eat berries. Short term memory, navigational skills, balance and coordination are all improved by eating blueberries.
2. Fatty fish-For two reasons, vitamin D and omega 3’s. Omega 3’s contain EPA and DHA which are highly concentrated in the brain and are critical for optimal brain function. Vitamin D, a nutrient plentiful in fatty fish like salmon, protects the brain. A Tufts University study found that people who ate fish like tuna, salmon and halibut 3 times a week reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s by 40%.
3. Avocados– are high in monounsaturated fatty acids which help promote healthy brain blood flow and benefits healthy brain function. And they’re good for your heart too because they’re loaded with potassium. That’s a win-win!
4. Nuts-Nuts are a good source of unsaturated fats and Vitamin E, both contributing to better brain function. Also, almonds, pecans, and walnuts are thought to prevent cognitive decline.
5. Eggs-Saturated fat and choline are both contained in eggs. They help boost memory skills and overall brain health.
6. Olive oil, coconut oil-Both oils are healthy fats which contain polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that can help prevent or even reverse dementia and cognitive decline and help improve memory.
7. Green leafy veggies-which are loaded with Vitamin K, like kale, collards and spinach, have been shown to slow cognitive decline. People who consume 1-2 servings a day have the cognitive ability of a person 11 years younger who consumed none.
So eat your healthy fats, like avocados, fatty fish, eggs, olive and coconut oils, your dark green leafy veggies like kale, collards and spinach, and your blueberries to help you get through finals, or for us older folk to get through the Christmas season (or life!). You’ll live a brain healthy life if you do, what could be better than that? Foods like this will help you live a life of vitality, with Valerie!