Every feeling, thought and action depends on your brain. It’s one of your most valuable assets. Therefore, you have to ensure you’re eating the right foods for brain health and mental wellness.
When you feed your brain cells well, you’re less anxious, sharper and more vibrant. what’s more, you are a healthy weight because you’re getting the nutrients you need from fewer calories. So, here’s how to really eat for a healthy brain.
1. Eat the colours of the rainbow
Natural pigments in food have different health-promoting molecules. For example, beets are chock-full of folate and betaine and blueberries contain antioxidants called flavonoids. Also, beta-carotene, the pigment that gives orange foods their rich color, gets converted to vitamin A during digestion. Lycopene is red and carotenoids are orange, and they’re both linked to a lower risk of dementia.
Some compounds in plants promote the growth of new brain cells by promoting the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In fact, researchers at Harvard found that having higher levels of carotenoids in the blood is correlated with a more optimistic outlook. The more colours on your plate means a bigger, better brain.
2. Go plant-based instead of vegan
Vegan eating plans miss two of the most important nutrients for brain function: DHA and Vitamin B12. Most vegans supplement, but studies show that the rates of B12 deficiency in both vegans and vegetarians is sky-high. But if you follow a plant-based plan that also incorporates animal foods with these nutrients, you’ll get all of the nutrients your brain needs.
3. Get your seafood fix
Omega 3 is vital for brain health. To be compleater (someone who eats the complete range of nutrients necessary for good brain health) requires sensible seafood. So, try to eat at least one serving of seafood once a week.
4. Stop eating processed foods
When you put processed foods into your body, you are not only choosing to fuel your body with nasty chemicals, but, you’re depriving it of the nutrients it needs. Processed foods are often stripped or void of nutrients. Try to eliminate processed foods and focus on fermented, traditional whole grains. This will help you get rid of the empty calories and simple carbs as the base of your food plan.
5. Eat like your grandmother ate
Back in her day, you grandma probably had no idea what “eating clean” was. And even if you tried explaining it to her, she’d probably say she didn’t give a hoot. Still, her diet included plenty of foods that were actually really healthy. Traditional diets based on whole foods, simple cooking, and seasonal variety are highly protective for the brain.