The Mediterranean diet and Japanese diet are pro-ported to be one the of the best diets to go on to stave off obesity and for overall health. This is due to the amount of fruits, vegetables and only a small amount of dairy and lean meats that they contain. These diets do contain refined sugar and avoid processed foods.
By giving our body good bacteria we help protect the lining of the digestive tract. We are also able to absorb nutrients better from food and activate neural pathways that travel between our gut and our brain.
Fermented foods help increase the good bacteria in your gut, some of these include:
Kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, pickles and kombucha
When people think about foods that are healthy for the brain, they normally think about how much fish they are eating. Wild salmon is one of the best sources of fish, and smaller short living fish such as mackeral and sardines, have important omega 3 oils that are protective for the brain from oxidative damage.
Whilst fish is an important brain food rich in omega 3 fatty acids, there are also other good brain foods, that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Here are some other good brain foods:
No these are not a new type of fruit, it is in fact the name given by Steven Pratts MD, when talking about ‘blueberries’.
In his book “Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life”, he states that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may also reduce age related conditions such as dementia and Alzheimers disease.
He also states that there may also be some evidence to suggest that they also learning and motor skills in aging when tested on rats.
Having 1 cup of blueberries a day added to your breakfast, lunch, smoothies, or just plain eating them as a snack from the fridge could be beneficial to your brain health.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain important vitamin E which protects the body from oxidative stress. Vitamin E also protects the body from cognitive decline.
If you don’t like the taste of nuts you can blend then up and add them to soups, smoothies, or use as a thickener in sauces, such as blended cashew nuts.
Flax seed oil is also a good alternative, which can be used as a salad dressing or added to soups and smoothies. It should not be used for cooking though as it is quite unstable. For this reason it should also be stored in a dark place, and ground flax seeds should be re-fridgerated after they are opened to help prevent spoilage.
Eating different types of nuts is also important so you an benefit from the different nutritional benefits of each nut.
Opt for mixed unsalted nuts, a small handful once or twice a day can really benefit your overall health.
Avocado’s contain healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help with healthy blood flow through the body, healthy blood flow also means a healthy brain.
Avocado is also good for lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor in cognitive decline so a lower blood pressure equals a healthy brain.
Avocado is high in calories, so if you are watching your weight stick to no more than 1/4 – ½ avocado a day or every couple of days.
I don’t like the taste of avocado’s, personally a find them rather bland. But they are great when added to smoothies, I normally add around ¼ avocado’s to my smoothies, which gives them a great smooth, creamy texture, so work great instead of adding dairy to your smoothie.
Beans and wholegrains
Beans and wholegrains are important for helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. By stabilizing blood sugar levels, you not only help stop curb hunger cravings, this important glucose is needed as fuel for our brain cells.
Beans can be added easily into the diet as side dishes main meals and can be mashed up and used instead of potatoes or chips.
At least half a cup of beans/whole grains added to your diet will help regulate your bowels with the fibre they contain, and protect the brain by supplying a steady stream of glucose to fuel the brain.
Colourful Fruit and Vegetables
I am sure you would have heard that eating more fruit and vegetables can not only help you lose weight but is important for your long term health. But it’s their antioxidant properties that help protect the brain from nasty free radicals, which are harmful in the body.
Antioxidants help mop up these free radicals and therefore protect the brain.
I like to eat my vegetables with a rainbow of colours. If your diet consists of peas and carrots and the odd legume, you are truly missing out on some of the wonderful vegetables that are now available to us.
We can now get vegetables from all around the world and eat summer fruits in the winter, take advantage of this and go to your supermarket today and try something you have never tried before.
Fruits although plentiful in vitamins and minerals do tend to be high in sugar, so it is better to consume more vegetables than fruit.
If you are not a fruit or vegetable lover, blend some up and add them to a smoothie, instead of just juice which has all the fibre stripped from it. Smoothies use the whole fruit and I always add some kind of protein such as nuts so they keep your blood sugar levels stabilized.
Try pomegranate seeds, these are high in antioxidants and can be added to salads and many other dishes.
Okay, so you might prefer the smooth and creaminess of a galaxy or a melt in your mouth whisper, but unfortunately the added sugar and dairy in these makes them a much more un healthy option compared to dark chocolate.
The darker the chocolate the better it is for your brain. Psychology today suggests eating dark chocolate that has at least 85% cocoa.
They also recommend dark chocolate for people that have suffered brain injuries or concussion, stroke, MS, autism and ADHD, due to its inflammatory properties. They also point out that refined sugar such as sugar in milk chocolate is particularly harmful for people after a brain injury causes an inflammatory response.
The Flavanols in dark chocolate has in recent studies been shown to be a key factor in helping the elderly reduce memory loss.
But just because it has these beneficial qualities does not that you should eat loads of it. in fact ½ oz – 1 oz is all that it needed per day. This equates to about 1-2 squares a day depending on the size of the chocolate bar.
So no chocolate binging I am afraid.
If you fancy some dark chocolate why not try this delicious Homemade Tropical Bounty Bar Recipe