Brain boosters: food for thought

Did you know that your brain takes up only 2% of your body weight, but uses about 20% of your energy resources? That’s a lot of energy for a small but vital organ, which is why it’s so important to fuel it with nutrient-rich food. Processed foods are high in trans fats and sugar, which can make you feel sluggish, anxious and depressed. In contrast, our pick of brain foods below will not only help prevent these symptoms, but will also help protect you against serious mental disorders down the line.

Fatty fish

One of the most important nutrients the brain needs – if not the most important – are omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain depends on these healthy fats to build cell membranes and prevent inflammation, which can contribute to depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s. For a serious boost of omega-3 brain food, eat plenty of fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel.

Wonderful walnuts

The fact that walnuts already look like the brain should be your first clue: these little nuts do wonders for your grey matter. Firstly, they promote blood flow so your brain gets more oxygen. Then they’re also rich in vitamin E, which has been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. The next time you’re hunting for an afternoon snack or preparing a salad, reach for a tablespoon (the daily recommended amount) of these brainy beauts.

Bright berries

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are all full of flavour and flavonoids. This group of potent antioxidants can help to improve your memory, as well as your ability to learn and make decisions.

Amazing avocados

Swap out butter on your sandwiches for avo and you’ll be giving yourself a super dose of healthy monounsaturated fats, which keeps blood flowing steadily to the brain. Avos are also packed with tyrosine, an amino acid that helps to keep you motivated and focused.

The “second brain”

It may sound strange, but recent discoveries about the influence that the bacteria in your intestinal tract has on your brain have led scientists to refer to the gut as the “second brain”. An oversupply of bad bacteria in your intestines, which can be caused by stress, antibiotics and poor diet, can affect everything from your mood to the kinds of decisions you make, and can also be the root cause of ADHD, autism and memory loss. Keep your intestinal bacteria – and your brain! –  happy by adding fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi to your diet.

Take care of your mental health by making these power foods part of your daily life. And don’t forget to combine them with regular exercise. Keeping your body moving is just as important for your brain as it is for your bones and muscles.


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