April 21, 2015

Brain Food

Looking for some brain boosters?

Research shows that what makes your heart healthy also makes your brain healthy.

Diets high in vitamin C, monounsaturated and omega 3 fats and B vitamins may boost your brain power. Simply put, enjoy more vegetables, fruit, fish, whole grains and legumes. The same message in Eating Healthy with Canada’s New Food Guide.

Boost your brain power with these smart foods:

Avocados – Avocados have healthy monounsaturated fats, the kind of fat good for your heart and your brain. Monounsaturated fats are also found in nuts, olive and canola oil, fish and flax. As with any fat, you still have to watch your portions.

Broccoli – Always on the top of the nutrition charts, broccoli is a source of vitamin C which helps us manage stress and is an antioxidant. Other foods packed in vitamin C include citrus fruit, spinach and tomatoes.

Cantaloupe – A high source of folate (the natural form of folic acid) which helps make red blood cells to carry oxygen to your brain, helping you to concentrate. Other foods high in folic acid are strawberries, grapefruit and dark green leafy vegetables.

Legumes – Legumes and other foods such as bananas, pork and chicken are high in vitamin B6 which helps your body convert glycogen (stored carbohydrate) into glucose, energy your brain can use. If glucose levels are low you may have difficulty concentrating, feel tired or hungry.

Milk – Milk is naturally a good source of zinc and vitamin B12, both important in cognitive function. Milk is also a source of protein which helps keep you alert – beneficial before class or an exam.

Salmon – Omega-3 fat sources such as salmon, flax, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are good for our heart and new research indicates it may boost our brains as well. New products on the market are available to increase omega-3 fats in diets that may be low in fish. These products include high omega-3 fat eggs, yogurt and milk.

Skip Them

Skip processed foods and fast foods that contain Trans fats, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils or vegetable oil shortening. These fats not only make it difficult to battle the bulge, they also go through your arteries and into your gray matter. Read the label! Many products are changing fat sources to contain “0 Trans Fats”. Consumer beware! Even though a food may be “Trans Fat Free” they still may be high in fat (or sugar) and should be consumed in moderation. Portion size is important.

Article written by: Diane Britton, Registered Dietitian

For more posts like these, visit the Physical Wellness page.