At Visual Therapy, we’re all about Mind, Body, and Soul. As we work with clients to line up their optimal wardrobes and help them to be the best version of themselves, we’re huge believers that it’s not the dress, but what’s in the dress that matters. And even though clothes can help you feel like a movie star, there’s something that needs to be taken care of first on a deeper level. Welcome to “Wellness Wednesdays”: our weekly feature to bring you tips for a healthy, whole and fulfilled life.
This is a guest post by Elise Museles of kaleandchocolate.com, attorney turned certified eating psychology & nutrition expert.
I have the memory of an elephant. I used to remember every single phone number that I called, before the days of speed dialing. Faces, places, names. No problem. But where did I put my keys or leave my iPhone? And did I take my vitamins today? Does this happen to you? Do you oftentimes forget the simplest most obvious things?
Whether you are 16 or 60, it is crucial to consider how you nourish your mind.
Brain cells use two times more energy than other cells in the body. This is hardly surprising when you consider all the functions the brain performs. From breathing to blinking to deciding what to cook to quantum physics, the brain does it all.
The good news is that there are certain nutrients that can stimulate the brain to help improve your focus while preventing age-related memory loss that can lead to inflammatory diseases like Alzheimer’s.
So what exactly can you eat to get this vital nourishment?
Here are some top ways to properly feed your brain:
1. Balance Your Blood Sugar. I know that this theme keeps reappearing, but if you are not supplying a steady flow of energy to your brain, you will not think clearly. It’s that simple. Have you ever skipped a meal and ended up feeling like you just could not make a decision? How often do you sense brain fog creeping up in the afternoon? You know that state where you walk around in a daze and feel disconnected from your body. We’ve all been there. The remedy is easy: EAT. And eat balanced meals in regular intervals to keep blood sugar stable throughout the day.
2. Amazing Antioxidants. My brilliant friend and colleague, Andrea Nakayama, Functional Nutritionist and Founder of Replenish PDX, teaches an in-depth course on the nervous system. According to Andrea, antioxidants are hands down the most important nutrients for the brain. By eating antioxidant rich foods, your body fights free radical damage and delivers more oxygen to the brain. Andrea’s top free radical-fighting, antioxidant-rich brain foods include: berries, apples, pecans, cherries, plums, walnuts, raw chocolate, goji berries, green tea, pomegranate, red grapes, kale, spinach, sprouts, beets, acai and vitamin C-containing foods.
3. Mind Your Minerals. The key brain boosting minerals are magnesium, chromium, iron, zinc, selenium, potassium and iron. Instead of looking to supplements, these nutrients are abundant in our foods. As an example, choose dark leafy greens like Swiss chard, which is packed with magnesium, a nutrient essential for the biochemical reactions in the brain that boost your energy levels. Leafy greens are also loaded with potassium and iron. Or eat just one Brazil nut and get 100% of the USDA recommended daily allowance of selenium. Concentrate on consuming foods high in these minerals for sharp focus and mental clarity.
4. Oh Omega. Whether you go for salmon, char, mackerel or sardines, these fatty fish (or fish oils) are loaded with omega-3s, especially DHA, which is vital for brain health and overall memory function. Flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds or walnuts (which resemble little brains) are excellent sources of plant-based omega fatty acids. Healthy fats are essential for brain function and cognitive development and have importance in every age group from infants to older adults.
5. Spice It Up. Add some flavor and zip to your food with anti-inflammatory spices. Most likely, these brain boosters are already stocked in your kitchen and readily available. Think garlic, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, thyme, and rosemary to name a few. Gingko is also known to improve blood flow to the brain. For ideas on how to integrate anti-inflammatory herbs and spices into your routine, see Spice It Up!
6. Vital Vitamin. Don’t forget the B vitamin, choline, which helps deliver oxygen to the brain across the blood-brain barrier to improve mental function and repair neurological dysfunction. The best sources of choline are eggs, soy lecithin (only non-GMO), and sunflower seeds.
With all these nourishing options, it is easy to add these brain-boosting nutrients into your daily routine. And, hopefully, you will never lose your keys or misplace your phone again!