We exercise to keep our muscles strong, so we should also eat the right foods to keep our brains just as powerful. Certain foods have qualities and components that increase your focus, energy and more. Ready to send your brain the food it needs to get to Friday? We’re with ya– here’s what to cook:
Wild salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids which are a must-have for proper brain functioning. Two thirds of our brain fatty acids are made up of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), yet the body can’t produce it on it’s own – hello, salmon! This DHA we get from salmon protects our brain cells from injury, reduces inflammation and helps produce neurotransmitters, which tells other cells in the body what to do. Eating salmon even once a week has been linked to having more gray matter in parts of the brain that control memory – so don’t forget to add this healthy food to your diet.
Recipe Idea: Simple to make, full of flavor—try this Chipotle Lime Salmon recipe from Elana’s Pantry.
You may remember the days when we were taught to give yolks the boot and the words “egg white only” became a standard phrase at Sunday brunches everywhere. However, we have seen the error in our ways – the yolk is where it’s at! Most of an egg’s nutrients are found in the yolk, including choline, a B vitamin that enhances brain development and sharpens your memory. Start your day with eggs, and you can improve your overall cognitive performance throughout the day.
Recipe Idea: Try out these quiche cups from the South Beach Diet, and you’ll never have to miss out on the benefits of eggs. They are easy to make and completely portable!
Avocados are one of those perfect foods that not only taste amazing—who doesn’t love some guac?—but it is also one of the best foods for your body that you could eat. Avocados are packed with nearly 20 essential nutrients. Similar to salmon, it contains omega-3s, but also, Vitamin E, which has been shown in studies to help reverse the memory loss of Alzheimer’s patients. Avocado has also been shown to preserve brain function by preventing strokes. Eat avocados now to ward off many of these later in life conditions.
Recipe Idea: You could eat avocado straight with a spoon, slice it to put on your salad, or mash it up and use it instead of mayo on a sandwich. Here’s a novel way you may not have thought to use it though – as a sauce for your pasta! Try out this recipe for 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta on Oh She Glows!
Olive oil contains the antioxidant polyphenols, which has been shown to reverse the damage done by free radicals; these are unstable molecules that can alter and damage the cells in our body. These free radicals are considered to be one potential cause of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related memory problems. Like a superhero, olive oil swoops in to the rescue! The antioxidants in olive oil are able to reverse damage caused in the brain by free radicals. Olive oil is best used as a topping instead of for cooking; heating olive oil can destroy it’s health-promoting properties.
Recipe Idea: Try celebrity chef Tyler Florence’s Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon and Parmesan Cheese for an easy way to highlight olive oil as the star ingredient.
Feel your stress melt away as you bite into that hamburger; grass-fed beef contains conjugated linoleic acid, aka. a fat that fights stress! Grass-fed beef also contains iron, which helps carry oxygen to the brain. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that woman with healthy iron levels performed better on mental tasks and completed them faster than those with poor iron levels.
Recipe Idea: Grass Fed Girl knows that beef is what’s for dinner! Try this hearty recipe for One Pot Paleo Chili tonight.
B is for Beets. Badass, brain boosting, and B vitamins! Vitamin B helps your brain quickly process data and more efficiently recall memories. This root vegetable contains natural nitrates that increase blood flow to the brain. When the blood is pumping, the brain is performing at it’s best.
Recipe Idea: Tasty Kitchen has moved beets from the sidelines to center stage with their recipe for Beet Risotto With Goat Cheese.
Improve your concentration and your mood with a few bites of delicious dark chocolate. Increasing cocoa flavonoids can improve brain function and help keep your memory sharp. It has been shown that by boosting blood flow to the brain, it could help general alertness levels. So pop some dark chocolate during a long day at work, like Sweetriot’s Cacao Nibs, which are made with high quality, all natural ingredients.
Recipe Idea: If you are feeling crafty, Primally Inspired can show you how to make your own Easily, Healthy, Homemade Dark Chocolate!