You may not be aware of this, but did you know that how your brain functions has a lot to do with what you eat? While it’s been generally known that what we eat affects us physically, new scientific research suggests that what we put in our mouths actually takes a toll on our mind and that brain foods matter, especially to our grey matter.
The thing is, our bodies dislike stress. Whenever we’re stressed out, be it physical (like when a dog jumps out at you from a dark corner) or mental (like when meeting an important deadline), our bodies release cytokines.
These chemicals alert our immune system to fight back against the stress through inflammation, as though stress is an infection. While it’s true that inflammation helps protect us against diseases and mends our bodies whenever we do things like cut ourselves, chronic inflammation is an entirely different thing. In fact, it’s been linked to a number of autoimmune diseases like anxiety, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis and more.
So what does all this have to do with food? Well, for starters, one of our gut’s jobs is to keep our bodies’ inflammation and immune responses under control. Furthermore, gut hormones that enter our brains or are produced in our brains affect our cognitive abilities like focus and the processing new information.
Below are 6 brain foods you should be eating to nurture not only your body but your mind as well.
Although these green powerhouses always get a bad rep for their high fat content, it’s crucial to note that avocados are loaded with monosaturated fats, the good kind of fats that help keep your blood sugar levels stable and your skin glowing.
Avocados are also packed with both folate and vitamin K, which help prevent blood clots from forming in the brain as well as help improve cognitive functions like concentration and memory.
One of the most nutritious plants you can eat, beets reduce inflammation and get rid of toxins from your blood. These root vegetables are also high in antioxidants that protect you from cancer. The natural nitrates that can be found in beets also boost blood flow to your brain, improving mental performance. Beets also boost energy and performance levels during tough workouts.
One of the highest antioxidant-rich foods around, blueberries are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber. The high levels of gallic acid found in blueberries also help protect the brain from stress and degeneration.
3) Bone Broth
Full of health benefits, bone broth has been proven to boost the immune system, repair leaky guts and improve joint health. The high levels of collagen found in this ancient food also help reduce intestinal inflammation while its amino acids like glycine and proline improves memory as well as immune system function.
One of the best brain foods out there, broccoli is packed with high levels of choline and vitamin K, which help keep your memory sharp as a tack. Loaded with vitamin C, a cup of broccoli can actually provide you with 150% of the recommended daily intake.
The high levels of polysaccharides and antioxidants found in celery are natural anti-inflammatories which help in alleviating symptoms related to inflammation like irritable bowel syndrome and joint pain.
And because this nutrients-rich plant has very few calories, it’s an ideal snack option if you’re trying to lose some weight.