Ah, the New Year. Raise your hand if January 2018 marked your start of a healthy diet. Raise your hand if January’s not even over and you’re already struggling. One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to develop better eating habits, but it’s also one of the hardest to maintain. What’s up with that?
Let’s start with the WHY, aka the purpose behind making this resolution. I’ve observed that most people want to eat healthy to lose weight. While that’s a good and valid reason on its own, some people need more motivation. Did you know that what you eat not only affects your weight, but it also affects your brain? If you need help keeping up your healthy eating habits, take a look at how these brain foods keep you sharp and use that as another motivation!
Which foods help boost your focus, memory and overall brain function?
Disclaimer: Remember that these foods do not cure or instantly change your brain power, but they can help maintain your brain health and aid the prevention of brain diseases.
Rich in: omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium
May Help: increase blood flow, reduce cholesterol, improve antioxidant absorption, protect the brain from free radical damage, prevent blood clots, reduce the risk of stroke
My favorite ways to eat it: avocado toast, guacamole, on salad
Rich in: complex carbohydrates, fiber, folate, essential omega fatty acids
May Help: stabilize glucose levels which provides a stable flow of energy to the brain
My favorite ways to eat it: baked with brown rice, with vegan tacos
Rich in: vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, gallic acid (it’s one of the highest antioxidant-rich foods!)
May Help: improve cognition, promote sharp memory, protect the brain from oxidative stress, reduce the effects of age-related conditions (Alzheimer’s or dementia)
My favorite ways to eat it: juice, smoothie, frozen, on their own
Rich in: vitamin K, vitamin C, choline, fiber
May Help: improve cognition, promote sharp memory
My favorite ways to eat it: roasted with garlic, in soup (Try this Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup, it’s my favorite!)
Rich in: fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, antioxidants
May Help: reduce the effects of age-related conditions
My favorite ways to eat it: salad, kale chips
Rich in: fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, potassium
May Help: prevent DNA damage, prevent cancer cell growth, prevent dementia
My favorite ways to eat it: salad, steamed, in sandwiches
7. NUTS & SEEDS
Rich in: vitamin E
May Help: improve cognition
My favorite ways to eat it: raw (as a snack), on salads, nut butter on toast
Rich in: lycopene
May Help: protect the brain from free radical damage, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s
My favorite ways to eat it: on salads, grape tomatoes as snacks, in sandwiches
9. WHOLE GRAINS
Rich in: fiber, vitamin B, vitamin E
May Help: promote blood flow, provide energy to the brain
My favorite ways to eat it: quinoa, whole wheat bread, brown rice (I love making Spanish Rice!), wild rice, oatmeal
10. DARK CHOCOLATE
Rich in: flavonols, antioxidants, natural caffeine (look for less processed dark chocolate with at least 70% of cocoa)
May Help: improve blood vessel function, improve brain function and memory, enhance focus and concentration, improve mood
My favorite ways to eat it: chocolate chip cookies (Oops… Try this vegan recipe! It’s the best cookie I’ve ever had.)
There are plenty of other great foods for your brain, but these are some of my favorites! Try meal planning and incorporating some of these brain foods into your diet this week. Observe the changes in your brain power and curate your 2018 diet according to the foods that helped you best.
P.S. It’s still Veganuary. Personally, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my life since becoming vegan. Not only have a lost weight but my energy is higher and I never feel sluggish after eating. If you’re looking for a challenge, why not try a vegan diet for a month and see how it helps you? Happy eating!