Although all nutrient-dense foods contribute to healthy brain function, below is a list of five delicious ‘brain foods’ that have been shown to keep your mind healthy and alert!
Salmon is a good source of health fats like omega-3, specifically a fatty acid called DHA. DHA is an antioxidant that makes up a large part of the brain itself. Getting enough DHA may contribute to memory, mental wellbeing and overall brain function. Try working two to three servings of fatty fish per week into your meals and snacks, like canned salmon on an open-faced sandwich with lettuce and avocado, or grilled salmon fillets seasoned with lemon and dill!
Walnuts are also a source of omega-3 fats as well as vitamin E and antioxidants, all of which are considered ‘neuroprotective’ compounds that help with focus, attention and cognition. Eating walnuts will also help you feel full as they contain healthy protein and fat. Incorporate walnuts into your morning snack with a piece of fruit, or include them in a salad at supper!
Flax contains another healthy omega-3 fatty acid known as ALA, which may also exert positive effects on the brain. Flaxseeds are also a good source of fibre, which helps to keep you regular. Keep in mind that is best to use ground flaxseed as the grinding process makes them easier to digest and releases more nutrients. It’s easy to sneak ground flaxseeds into baked goods, oatmeal or a smoothie!
Not only are hemp hearts high in protein and fibre, but also their brain-healthy compounds include vitamin E and omega-3 (specifically ALA). Hemp hearts have a nutty flavour and can be blended with olive oil and lemon juice for a dressing, or can be added to a tomato sauce for an extra hit of protein and healthy fats.
Berries, especially blueberries, contain antioxidants and vitamins E and C. The compounds found in blueberries may improve alertness and concentration throughout the day. Blueberries are great with a spinach and goat cheese salad, or also pair well with Greek yogurt for a delicious snack!