When it comes to nutrition, most of us think in terms of our bodies. We think about the food we can eat to relieve digestive discomfort or the meals we can plan that can help to manage our weight.
However, it’s worth spending a little time thinking about just how much the foods we eat can influence. As well as our weight and our physical health, the foods we choose to enjoy have a direct correlation with the health of our brains. When it comes to managing your mental health and overall wellbeing, adding foods that have been proven to be beneficial to brain health could be extremely beneficial.
Want to give it a try? Below, you’ll find a list of foods that have long been associated with improved brain health, as well as some helpful tips on how to incorporate these grey-matter-friendly foods into your existing diet…
#1 – Avocado
Avocados have been riding high on the list of common food trends for a few years now, but there’s a good reason for that: avocados are incredibly good for you. They are rich in essential fats and fatty acids so anyone interested in boosting their brain health will want to incorporate avocados into their diet.
If you’re new to avocados, why not give the recipe below a try? It’s a classic avocado dish — avocado on toast — but with a special twist.
#2 – Kale
As with avocados, kale has become the go-to “superfood” for the past few years. And, as with avocados, the reason for the popularity of kale is genuine. Kale is rich in a number of vitamins and minerals vital for brain health, but there’s just one downside… it’s not the most appetizing of foods, is it?
If you’ve previously shied away from kale due to dislike for its rather strong taste, perhaps these crispy kale chips could be just what you need to change your mind.
#3 – Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is chocolate that is comprised of at least 70% cocoa and, ideally, that number will be closer to 100%. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which can be hugely beneficial to brain health.
If you’re looking for a brain health boost that actually tastes good too, then the dark chocolate recipe below is sure to delight you…
It’s worth noting that for those who have previously primarily eaten milk chocolate, eating dark chocolate can be something of a shock at first. However, when you’ve adjusted, you’ll come to love the crisp, bitter taste and enhanced health that eating dark chocolate affords you.
#4 – Eggs
Eggs may just be the original superfood. They’re inexpensive to buy; rich in a wide variety of essential nutrients, and there are a thousand different ways they can be used in cooking. If you’re looking to cultivate a health-friendly diet, then eggs will certainly have their role to play. As one might expect, eggs — and particularly their high protein content — have been linked with improved brain health, so they definitely qualify for a place on this list.
Given the plethora of different ways that eggs can be cooked, finding an interesting recipe idea to include was tough… but we think this classic Spanish omelet recipe is a choice that will delight everyone. Omelets are a fantastic choice when you’re in need of a quick and healthy meal, and the extra vegetables used in this recipe help to provide an extra health and taste boost.
#5 – Coconut oil
Coconut oil has long been associated with mental and cognitive health; it has even been suggested as a potential remedy for those who have been diagnosed with dementia. Given the prevalence of dementia in society, the need for specialist nursing, and the impact the condition can have on lives, this is a tantalizing thought, but sadly, one that is without scientific proof at this point in time.
However, while the jury is out on the benefits of coconut oil for dementia specifically, coconut oil does have all the markers of being beneficial for brain health in general. Coconut oil is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which have been linked to enhanced brain health and memory function.
If you want to give coconut oil a try, then introducing it into your diet is relatively simple. Coconut oil can be used as a substitute for butter, olive oil, and even eggs in some recipes. So we’re not going to suggest a specific recipe because most recipes can easily be adapted to accommodate coconut oil— instead, we thought it might be fun to look at the possibility of making your own coconut oil:
Do you think you might be tempted to give it a try?
#6 – Beetroot
Yes, humble beetroot has a huge role to play in human health. The nutritional profile of beetroot is full of vital nutrients, with manganese, B vitamins, fibre, and potassium all found in abundance. As a result of such a stellar showing in the nutrient stakes, it should come as no surprise that beetroot has also been linked with increased brain health.
Incorporating beetroot into your diet is incredibly simple. Beetroot can be added to sandwiches, pasta dishes, omelettes, and any other dish in need of a bit of a kick. However, health-wise, arguably the best way to get its benefits is to opt for beetroot juice. You can buy this surprisingly-tasty juice in stores, but it tends to be expensive; if you have a juicer, then you should have no problem making your own.
The food that we eat doesn’t just impact our physical health; it has a huge role to play in our mental and cognitive health also. By incorporating the foods above into your diet, you can be sure that your eating habits are providing health benefits and support where it’s needed most.