Maybe you’re watching your diet because you’re trying to lose weight, or maybe you’re just trying to live a healthier lifestyle in general. But did you know certain foods have an effect on our brains too? When choosing your diet, you always want to make sure you know how the ingredients of each meal you have interact with your body, but don’t forget to make sure you’re getting the right food for your brain too.
Here’s just a couple foods and ingredients to include in your diet for a happy and healthier mind:
The antioxidant rich berries are pretty well known for being at the top of all superfood lists. But did you know blueberries are actually great for your brain too? According to recent research, the berries have a strong relation to reduced stress, anti-aging, and higher cognitive abilities. Overall, because they are so healthy for both your body and mind, they should be an essential part of any good diet.
2. Turkey Breast
You might not be surprised to hear that that sleepy, happy feeling you get after Thanksgiving has a scientific reason behind it. Turkey is a great producer of the chemical serotonin in the brain which is responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being. If you’re looking for a stress-combating addition to your diet, turkey breast sandwiches or ground turkey dinners are a perfect way to keep you relaxed day after day.
Any fish with a high-fat content can substitute for this one, but researchers rave on the mental benefits you can get from salmon. First of all, salmon has a huge amount of Omega 3-s, which aren’t just important for your physical health but great for your brain also. They’ve been shown to slow diseases like Alzheimer’s in the long term and can ward off learning impairments if they are integrated in your daily diet.
4. Dark Leafy Greens
Adding more green to your diet is never a bad thing, but some studies are showing that dark leafy vegetables are also great in helping memory. One opinion is that this is due to the amount of folate in the brain which may slow the amount of dying nerve cells keeping your memory in tact. Though more research needs to be done to really pin down what’s going on here, it’s clear that adding some leafy greens to your diet can only help.
Like most people, I just don’t feel right if I don’t have a good egg for breakfast. But new studies are showing that regular egg intake – specifically the vitamin D found in eggs – is important for avoiding cognitive decline as you age. It’s important that you eat a whole egg too, as it’s that yellow yolk that contains all the vitamin D you need to kickstart your day and a healthy brain.
6. Red Wine
Okay so not an item in a “diet” per se, but it’s pretty cool that red wine might actually be good for us too. Turns out that red wine is super rich with polyphenols which could be delaying and slowing early on-set Alzheimer’s. Though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, adding foods to your diet that delay the on-set of the disease can be really important. Try with just a glass of red wine a night and get closer to a healthy, happier you.
It’s well known that saturated fat is important for brain function as it’s a part of every brain cell. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that avocados are on this list. The fats found in avocados also help blood flow, helping more blood reach the brain which helps it to function at its best. Overall, including an avocado into some of your meals is not only great for your body – as it’s also shown to prevent heart disease – but also your mind.
8. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil may very well be the ingredient to save us all. From boosting fat loss to clearing acne, coconut oil does it all. But what does it do for our brains? Similar to avocados, coconut oil is high in saturated fats which automatically make it great for cognitive function. However, the great thing about this oil – compared to vegetable oils – is that it contains medium-chain triglycerides which acts as great fuel for your brain to make sure it’s not losing too many brain cells. It’s such a versatile oil too, that can be used in cooking, as an egg replacement in baking, and even as a moisturizer.
What foods do you include in your diet for mental wellness? Let us know in the comments!