Brain Fog Much?
Many of us are looking for more ways to stave off brain decline and improve brain function and alertness on a daily basis.
The good news?
There are many therapeutic foods that naturally help heal our brains and heighten cognitive function by increasing focus and memory, helping to balance blood sugar and increasing antioxidant activity. These five brain boosting foods provide long lasting brain benefits and should be consumed more often, if not daily!
1. Medium Chain Triglycerides
- Medium chain triglycerides or MCT oil are a type of saturated fatty acid that is primarily derived from coconut oil. The shorter chain MCT oils (caprylic and capric acid- C8 and C10 respectively) are known to be the most effective at increasing brain energy and focus. Coconut oil is mainly comprised of a fatty acid called lauric acid (C12) and only small amounts of C8 and C10. While coconut oil has many health benefits; the brain boosting effects of these oils are highest when the shorter chain fatty acids are extracted and consumed on their own.
- How to best boost your intake? Add 1 T MCT oil (I like Now Foods brand) or Brain Octane oil (Bulletproof brand) to your coffee or drizzle over warmed veggies.
2. Wild salmon (or sardines)
- Salmon provides a good source of DHA; an omega 3 fatty acid particularly beneficial to brain health and development. Current research is supportive of the fact that those who eat more DHA-rich fish have better brain health overall. Make sure to consume wild salmon and other low mercury fish due to mercury burden!
- Roast salmon with brightly colored veggies in the oven for an antioxidant rich dinner or layer sardines atop gluten free avocado toast
- Walnuts are a rich source of omega 3 DHA fats which have been shown to have neuro-protective effects as well as prevent age-related cognitive decline. Adequate intake of omega 3 fatty acids has also been linked to preventing or treating depression.
- Replace pine nuts with walnuts in a pesto recipe or try Meg’s clean Mediterranean dip. Choose unsalted, raw walnuts and make sure to store in the freezer as they go rancid quickly due to the high fat content!
4. Green Tea
- A rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols; green tea helps regulate our body’s insulin sensitivity thereby maintaining a steady supply of glucose to the brain to keep our energy from crashing. Increased green tea intake (~2 cups daily) has also been associated with boosting memory.
- Try to switch out your morning coffee for organic green tea a few days a week or whip up an unsweetened matcha green tea latte for an even more potent boost of benefits
- A stressful work life, cigarette smoke and alcohol can alter brain function and cause damaging oxidative stress on our brains; especially when prolonged overtime. Heightened oxidative stress can, in turn, hinder our ability produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine-these things keep us feeling happy and energized! Foods rich in natural antioxidants such as vitamin C help protect our brains and promote production of these happy chemicals. Just 2 kiwis a day will help fulfill this need!
- Slice kiwi and top on hot cereal for breakfast or consume with a handful of nuts or seeds to balance out an afternoon snack. Even though this sounds strange-the skin is edible and provides a great boost of fiber!