Your diet plays an important role in keeping you alert, energized, and focused. If you lack the required nutrients from your diet, your mood gets low. This negatively affects your daily tasks.
With the coronavirus pandemic where people stay at home most of the time, eating unhealthy foods is tempting. However, the effects of the pandemic should not be an excuse to break your healthy diet.
With the many healthy foods you can eat, it can get confusing to choose which ones are right for you. Regardless of what you do nowadays, it is important to always keep your mind sharp. In this article, we listed 10 of the best smart foods you can include in your diet. Check them out, and see how they are beneficial for your brain!
For coffee lovers, a daily dose of your favorite drink can give you energy and help you stay focused. However, it is important to remember that this benefit is for taking small doses only. Drink an 8-oz cup of coffee only, and take it in the morning.
You can drink another cup later in the afternoon but not at night. Drinking in the evening can disrupt your sleeping schedule. It is also best to drink pure coffee. Cappuccino, mocha, latte, and other types can only add extra sugars.
Beans are rich in B vitamins, magnesium, and protein, which all help in boosting your brain function. B vitamins, for example, helps in the production of new brain cells, which increases the overall function of your brain.
You can cook beans in different ways at home, such as:
- Making chili
- Making soup
- Adding them to side dishes
- Turning them to sausages or burgers
- Tossing them to salads
- Including them into sauces
3. Green Vegetables
Broccoli, asparagus, and spinach are all examples of green vegetables. They have one thing in common: folate. This nutrient contributes to neurotransmitter formation and fights mental fatigue and depression. This also means keeping your brain alert.
It is best to eat a mixture of different green vegetables, so you get a wide variety of nutrients. What is great about vegetables is you can have them in many ways like:
- Eating raw
Start making your own garden during this pandemic to make green vegetables more accessible. This way, you become more productive and live more healthily.
Despite the high sugar content of many types of chocolates, they are good for the brain. Cocoa is the secret ingredient for this. It contains flavonols that improve brain function and support the production of neurons. Flavonols may also contribute to slowing down brain aging.
It is, however, important to take note that not all chocolates have cocoa like white chocolates. Eat bittersweet, dark chocolates instead. Also, make sure to consume up to 1/2 oz a day only.
You can directly use cocoa if you have access to it. Add one teaspoon of it to your Greek yogurt. Stick to plain yogurt as much as possible because it has higher antioxidant levels than the flavored ones.
5. Hemp Seed
Hemp seed is a superfood that contains antioxidants and omega-3 and omega-6. Antioxidants can help slow down signs of aging in the brain and body. The brain consumes large amounts of oxygen because of its metabolic activity. This makes the organ vulnerable to free radical attack, which can speed up aging. Therefore, eating foods rich in antioxidants can prevent this, making brain functionality better.
Omega-3 also works on creating cell membranes in the brain. This keeps your brain healthier and helps enhance functionality. It provides antioxidant effects as well.
There are several creative ways in eating hemp seed, such as:
- Adding them to your baked goods or breakfast recipes
- Sprinkling on cereals
- Mixing with milk or yogurt
- Adding to oatmeal
All types of nuts are healthy for the brain, but walnuts are the best. It has high levels of omega-3, omega-6, and protein. Omega-6, for example, promotes healthy aging both in the brain and body. It enhances cognitive abilities and brain structures, which are all beneficial for staying smart.
Protein is necessary for the production of neurotransmitters. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, for example, helps in sending signals. This allows the delivery of information among neurons and contributes to enhancing cognitive abilities, such as:
When eating walnuts, it is best to consume 1 oz daily.
Like walnuts, salmon is rich in healthy fats such as omega-3. You can also cook this fish in various ways, such as:
- Cooking in parchment
To make sure you get fresh salmon, pick the ones with good moisture. Also, avoid those with skin that is curling up or brown spots in the belly area.
Blueberries are one of the fruits with the highest levels of antioxidants. Anthocyanin is one notable antioxidant it has. It helps slow down brain degeneration and improve cognitive function. It also stops cell death of neurons and enhances the connection among neurons. In other words, it keeps the brain healthy and boosts its functionality.
Like the many foods on our list, you can eat them differently, like:
- Eat them raw.
- Include them in parfaits.
- Make blue smoothies using them.
- Top them to oatmeal.
- Make them as juice.
- Include them in salads.
The recommended amount to eat blueberries daily is 1/12 cups, either frozen or fresh.
Oats are common during breakfast because the body digests them slowly. This gives your brain and body the right energy levels for a longer period. Oats also have vitamin E, zinc, potassium, and B vitamins, which are all beneficial for the brain.
Zinc, for example, can trigger glutamate receptors in the brain. These receptors are necessary for neural regulation, learning, memory formation, and communication. Simply put, it improves the functionality of your neurons, which are the brain’s basic working unit.
Top your oatmeal with berries, dried fruits, nuts, and other fresh fruits for breakfast.
Dairy products like milk are rich in B vitamins, protein, and vitamin D, which are important for the brain. Vitamin D, for example, has multiple roles to keep the brain healthy. One role is it helps regulate brain health and functionality. It activates brain enzymes that help in nerve growth and neurotransmitter synthesis.
Milk is also a promoter of sleep as it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps induce sleep. When you get enough sleep every day, it helps in the communication of nerve cells. This means brain function can work better as well.
Therefore, drinking milk every day can contribute to your brain’s wellness. You can buy liters of milk and store them in high-quality milk bottles made of glass. This way, you can preserve its taste and freshness for longer periods. Storing goods during this pandemic is extremely important.
These smart foods are a great addition to your everyday meals. You can serve them differently on each day, so you do not get bored too fast. Your brain needs a daily dose of any of these to keep functioning excellently. So, plan a weekly schedule for your meals, and enjoy these smart foods daily.