Its time to boost that brain power now that we are back at work and kids are heading back to school after a relaxing summer break. Our nutritionist Phoebe has given her top 3 tips for improving brain health. As I’m sure we are all well aware our brains are a pretty big deal, your brain keeps all the bodies systems functioning. It allows our lungs to breath, our heart to beat, our body to move and our mind to think therefore its very important to keep it in good health and there are wonderful foods out there that do exactly that.
- Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids: About 60% of your brain is made of fat and half of that is made up of omega-3 fatty acids, so as you can already see our omega-3’s are going to be vital for improving brain health as they are one of the major building blocks of the brain cells ensuring smooth communication can take place. Omega-3s play a vital role in fighting against inflammatory disease like neurodegenerative diseases as omega-3s are essential for the formation of anti-inflammatory lipids. Additionally omega-3s have been shown to be beneficial against learning impairments and depression and other mental disorders. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts and soy beans are all fantastic sources of omega-3’s.
- Increase your intake of B-vitamins: The B-vitamins work together as a brain boosting team. They are used to drive thousands of biochemical reactions in the body and are particularly important for brain function. The main functions of B-vitamins include energy production (converting food into fuel), the synthesis and repair of DNA & RNA, and the production of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers in the brain. Your best sources of B-vitamins come from animal products like beef, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products and plant products like beans, legumes, whole grains and dark leafy greens.
- Increase your intake of probiotic rich foods: There is a bidirectional communication system that goes on between our gut and our brain known as the gut brain axis. This gut-brain communication system is in part mediated by the neural pathways that connect your enteric nervous system with your central nervous system via the vagus nerve. To put this simply the health of our gut can have a strong influence on the health of our brain therefore we want our gut microbiota to be in tip top shape and one of the best ways to do this is increase your intake of probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found in certain foods and supplements. Probiotics have been proven to improve mood and reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Probiotic rich foods include yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha just to name a few.
I strongly recommend you find some tasty ways to incorporate more of these fantastic nutrients into your diet to boost that brain power in order to improve concentration, memory and overall cognitive function.