We may not give our brains much thought, but as this beautifully complex organ conducts the movement and flow of our bodies each and every day, we ought to give it proper care—just like anything else we possess. As we transition from the pool deck to the office desk, we’ll especially want to make sure our brains are running in top gear. To keep your mind sharp and focused, integrate these 5 super yummy, brain-boosting foods into your diet:
This brain-friendly spice gathered from tree bark activates neurotrophic factors, which are proteins that aid the brain in producing brand new neurons and maintaining the health of older ones. Cinnamon, like spearmint, has also been shown to increase memory and concentration during cognitive tests, so be sure to brew a batch of this cinnamon-laden Cool Superfood Apple Cider before an exam or big presentation.
These legumes are packed with zinc, a memory sharpener, as well as thiamin and vitamin B6, which amp up your ability to zone in on a task and focus with increased energy. Integrate lentils into your regular diet as a staple in your soups and salads— they work as brain boosters throughout various stages of life. For women in their childbearing years, they provide iron, an essential mineral for cognitive functioning. And as we age, we also need folate, a B vitamin found in lentils, that keeps your mind running sharp.
This fall, be sure to save your pumpkin seeds after that jack-o-lantern carving fest. These tasty pepitas serve up abundant amounts of iron (which is critical for normal neurological function), as well as a magical mineral cocktail of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which slows the cognitive impairment that comes with age.
These brain-shaped nuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which ward off depression, preserve cognition, and keep those grey cells healthy. And we all know that our brains run full speed after a good night of shut-eye. Walnuts ramp up melatonin levels, ensuring deep,restful sleep for optimal brain functioning the next day.
In addition to providing anandamide, also known as the “bliss molecule,” dark chocolate is replete with flavonoids, which boost memory and improve blood flow through the brain. They’re also chock-full of antioxidants, which lower the chances of degenerative disorders like dementia. And the brain—which uses 20% of the oxygen you breathe—is especially susceptible to free radical damage (and premature brain cell aging), which can be neutralized by cocoa’s high levels of antioxidants. Yet another reason to make a heavenly Cacao Smoothie...
What are your favorite ways to eat these brain-boosting foods? Share them with us on Twitter with #myphilosophie!