9 Foods to Feed Your Brain

(Photo: Salon)

While staying physically fit is a huge part of healthy living, what about staying mentally sharp as well? Motherhood can sure test your mental strengths, and at the end of the day you feel much more than physically exhausted.

Registered Dietician Nutritionist Jill Weisenberger says that generally, what’s good for the heart is also good for the brain, which makes sense when you consider that the health of both require healthy, clean blood vessels. So for the most part, eating for your brain comes down to keeping the blood vessels free of disease. This means a diet low in unhealthy saturated and trans fats and rich in fruits, vegetables and legumes. Choosing foods with heart-healthy fats such as nuts, salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, olive and canola oils, avocados and soybeans is good for the brain too.

Curious for more? Check out these nine foods to feed your brain!

Blueberries: Blueberries protect your brain from oxidative stress, which we're guessing you experience a lot of. On top of that, blueberries may even reduce effects of age-related conditions like Alzheimer's disease and dimentia. Ingest about a cup of blueberries a day for a healthy brain. Try this Flatout Delicious Blueberry Cinnamon Rollups for a healthy, brain-friendly start to your day!

Wild salmon: We've come to the conclusion that wild-caught salmon is generally better for you than farm-raised, and one of the benefits of wild salmon is that it is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function. Which is pretty important. It also contains anti-inflammatory substances. You should eat a four-ounce serving of wild salmon about two or three times a week.

Nuts and seeds: Channel your inner squirrel, because you're about to be scrounging for its main food sources! Nuts and seeds contain tons of vitamin E, which means less of a cognitive decline as you age. It really doesn't matter what kind you eat, but make sure they're unsalted to cut down on your sodium intake. Nuts also tend to be high in calories, so enjoy in moderation!


>> Read more: Healthy Trail Mix

Avocados: No wonder avocados are such a hit in the foodie world! They're tricking our brains into it! Avocados are full of monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow, which means a healthy brain. Avocados can also help lower blood pressure! Enjoy about a fourth or half an avocado per day. Check out this delicious open-faced avocado and fried egg sandwich on an English muffin!

Whole grains: We can't get enough whole grains! You can find them most commonly in oatmeal, bread and brown rice, and they reduce the risk of heart disease and increase blood flow throughout the body, which includes your brain. To read more about whole grains, click here.

Beans: Beans, beans, the magical fruit. Beans help to stabilize glucose (blood sugar) levels, and your brain depends on glucose. Although your brain can't store glucose, it sure can get it from beans! Eat about half a cup of beans every day.

>> Read more: Glossary of Foods: Garbanzo Beans

variety of beans

Pomegranate juice: If you're not reaping the antioxidant benefits from pomegranate juice, you should get on that right away. Antioxidants protect your brain from damage of free radicals. For a taste of summer, check out this recipe for a skinny pineapple pomegranate smoothie!


Freshly-brewed tea: Pay close attention to "freshly-brewed." Canned or bottled teas will not give you the same benefits as a pot of freshly-brewed tea! However, it does not matter if it's hot or cold. As long as you're getting two to three cups a day of it, the modest amount of caffeine will boost your memory, focus and mood. And the antioxidants will help with blood flow! Check out our delicious Clean Green Citrus Tea.

Dark chocolate: Finishing on a high note here. Dark chocolate also contains tons of antioxidant properties and natural stimulants like caffeine. That means not only will your focus and concentration increase, but it even stimulates endorphins, nature's feel-good drug. The only bad part about dark chocolate is that we have to enjoy it in moderation.