So, ever catch yourself adding a sticky note (or two?) on top of your existing journal or calendar notes? Maybe that’s just me….thought I’d check in on my daily intake of nutrients for brain health…like asap.
For a healthy, alert, ever-growing brain we need a balance of lean protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates along with plenty of water.
Antioxidants. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect the brain from oxidants that damage delicate cell membranes and brain cells, and may contribute to dementia.
Spinach.…and other dark leafy greens specifically help to keep your brain sharp. What makes them so beneficial? Probably the brain friendly nutrients carotenoids and flavonoids. About storage of fresh greens: keep them as cold as possible; the nutrient content of these greens significantly declines after 4 days. If you can’t use it that quickly-buy frozen (y e s, I’ve dared to say it). It’s packaged so quickly after harvesting that the nutrients stay locked in.
DHA. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid. It is found in cold water fatty fish, such as salmon. It is also found in fish oil supplements, along with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Our bodies naturally make a small amount of DHA but it’s the key omega-3 fat in fish oil. Vegetarian sources of DHA come from seaweed.
Omega -3 foods… like walnuts, avocados, flaxseeds, soybeans and fortified foods (fortified organic eggs are easy to find if you’re concerned about your intake).
Lean Protein. Proteins in our diet affect brain performance because they provide the amino acids (protein is made of amino acids) that make up our neurotransmitters. Think of neurotransmitters as biochemical messengers whose job it is to carry signals from one brain cell to another and then transmit signals to the different parts of the body to carry out their individual tasks. Protein – amino acids – are also essential for our happiness. When we don’t eat enough good protein, the brain can’t produce enough mood regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine and this is really important as these help to boost energy, mental clarity, and basically make you feel happier as well as regulate pain, reduce anxiety, initiate deep sleep.
Sleep. No amount of food can help if you’re not getting enough rest. Get a good night’s sleep, and when you wake up, select foods that will stimulate your taste buds – and your brain as well.
Consider it a gift to yourself to make 2015 your year to look and feel better. Learn more, ask questions or schedule online at kyoungnutrition.com.