“The great events of the world take place in the brain”
Dr. Adam Amodeo, ND
Your brain is an incredible machine and needs the right foods to stay sharp. Here’s why. Your brain has over 100 billion nerve cells and in early pregnancy, these neurons develop at an alarming rate of 250,000 per minute. The brain also processes information at the speed of 402 kilometers per hour.
Your brain works really hard. Knowing the best foods for your brain is critical.
People reach for the wrong things when they are looking to boost brain performance. Cigarettes, energy drinks, and other stimulants may offer short-term cognitive benefits but often at the risk of long-term health.
What are the best foods for your brain?
There are foods that you can incorporate into your diet that will support your brain both in the short term and long term.
- Oily fish: salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines
- Berries: Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries
- Nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, the undisputed champion.
- Whole grains and oatmeal
- Kale – “Nutrition bomb”
- Spinach and broccoli
- These foods are often good sources of antioxidants and healthy fats. Antioxidants help manage inflammation and protect neurons from free radical damage.
- Healthy fats support nerve health and replace unhealthy fats which can cause free radical damage.
- High consumption of vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, also leads to slower cognitive decline in old age
Many of these foods are from the Mediterranean diet, which originally was found to benefit cardiovascular health, but has since been associated with better cognitive function as well. High consumption of vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, also ensures slower cognitive decline in old age.
These findings have come together to create the MIND diet (Mediterranean- diet intervention for neuro-degenerative delay).
Researches graded participants on how well their diet scored against the ideal MIND diet using the rubric below. Each food category is given a score of 0, 0.5, or 1 based on the frequency of consumption for a maximum score of 15.
The results showed that being in the top third of MIND diet scores instead of the lowest third was equal to being 7.5 year younger in age based on cognitive decline. Try scoring your own diet to see how brain-friendly your diet is.
And the next time you need a brain boost, try this smoothie which includes some of the foods mentioned above:
Blueberry Whey Protein Smoothie
1 cup filtered water
1 cup frozen pesticide free blueberries
½ cup chopped kale
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 scoop whey protein isolate
Combine all ingredients and blend until creamy
Your brain. Your power
The brain is an energy-intensive organ, using over 20% of the body’s calories. Stay younger, smarter and healthier by serving your brain the best foods.
Dr. Adam Amodeo ND practices with the team at Family Physiotherapy in Thornhill, Ontario.