If you decided to start off 2017 on a health kick, we’re with you 100%! Signing up for a new gym membership is not going to be enough. About 80% of your weight loss efforts will come from your diet, not just your exercise habits. But while you work on making a strong body, don’t forget about building a strong brain. Here are some of the best foods you can eat that your brain will thank you for:
1. Deep-water fish: Fish, like salmon, sardines, and herring, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is an essential nutrient for brain health.
2. Avocado: This versatile fruit well deserves the label of “super food.” There are a multitude of yummy recipes that call for avocado, either by itself or as a delicious and healthier substitute (e.g. if a recipe calls for butter or eggs, you can swap it out with one ripe avocado!) Avocados lower blood pressure, which promotes good brain health. The only downside is that they are high in calories, so limit yourself to a quarter or a half of an avocado per meal.
3. Whole grains: whole grains, like brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain bread, are not only heart healthy, but brain healthy as well. Any food that promotes good cardiovascular health is good for the brain as a well-run circulatory system delivers much-needed oxygen to the brain. Not only that, but these foods contain brain healthy nutrients like Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber.
4. Beans: Beans are a very underrated food group. One serving of black beans has 7 grams of protein and they are an excellent swap for grains for gluten free diets. Beans can also stabilize glucose levels, which the brain needs for fuel. The brain is unable to store glucose for its own energy expenditure, so it needs a steady supply to stay in peak condition.
5. Dark Chocolate: Last but definitely not least is everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure of a health food. A piece of dark chocolate packs a punch as it contains antioxidants and natural simulants that can improve concentration. Also, dark chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins, which is why you’re always in a better mood when you munch on a piece of it! Unlike the other colors of chocolate, dark chocolate is a bit of an acquired taste. Its darker color comes from a higher concentration of raw cacao. The higher percentage of cacao in dark chocolate, the “purer” it is and the more antioxidants and stimulants it will contain.