6 Foods Your Brain Will Thank You For

The liver is a hugely important organ in the body, with its ability to clear toxins from the system and keep us healthy and fit, it deserves far more value, appreciation and care than it tends to receive. But our brains absolutely rule the show that is our life! Not only does the brain have the crucial role of communicating with all the major organs and limbs, but our brain also dictates our perception of the more esoteric elements of our existence – whether we are happy or sad, clear and focused or anxious and disorganized.

Maintenance at Grand Central Station

My clients will tell you, I spend a lot of time during sessions discussing brain chemistry and its role in helping us eat well, stay balanced and focused on our goals. A brain askew – by let’s say low serotonin levels borne out of stress – will likely sabotage your best efforts to get your eating on track or even your butt out of bed in the mornings. Neurotransmitter balance plays an important role in the foods we choose to eat, the things we crave and often how successful we are in making the changes we desire to meet our health goals. Keeping your brain healthy is an important part of overall wellness and longevity. Eating to support brain chemistry will have a ripple effect throughout your body that will benefit your cardiovascular system, immune system, your mood, and in turn will even help in stabilizing your weight! Read on for 6 top foods for healthy brain function, and click the link here for some insight into neurofeedback – a science that works with changing brain waves – by psychotherapist and special guest blogger Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW!

1. Blueberries

Loaded in antioxidants that help slow damage from oxidative stress that can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s, blueberries are a delicious way to maintain a healthy brain. Packed with phytochemicals, which play a role in the reduction of heart disease and cancer, and anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids that give them their purple color and make them a great antioxidant source, blueberries are a key food for optimal brain health. Make sure you get organic berries, as berries are the most sprayed fruit in commercial farming. The pesticides used in commercially grown berries would most certainly negate their affect. Add berries to your oatmeal, protein smoothies, yogurt or plain as a snack.

2. Wild Alaskan Salmon

Salmon contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids that help prevent blockages in the circulatory system that could lead to poor circulation to the brain. Omega 3’s also help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, increasing the amount of the good, HDL cholesterol that is protective to the body. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties. Make sure you buy wild Alaskan salmon rather than farm raised. If you are unable to find fresh wild Alaskan Salmon at your local fish market, you can check out Vital Choice for online ordering of great salmon, tuna and other wild and organic seafood – flash frozen and delivered right to you! (Lots of fish that you buy from grocery stores, even from the fish counter, has actually already been frozen, and may possibly have been dyed – especially salmon.)

3. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain Vitamin E as well as essential fatty acids that can help improve circulation and prevent oxidative stress. Walnuts are high in Omega 3 fatty acids that help prevent inflammation and almonds have great immune boosting properties. Both help with balancing cholesterol levels. Choose raw, unsalted nuts for best results. Have one to two small handfuls daily as a snack.

4. Avocados

Also a great source of essential fatty acids, avocados are a delicious way to improve circulation as well as lower blood pressure, which is also beneficial to long term brain health. Potassium, a vital mineral that is often depleted in the body as a consequence to salt consumption, stabilizes blood pressure and protects the heart. Slice up a quarter of an avocado and toss into a salad, along with some cilantro and lime juice for a great twist on the average salad.

5. Flax

A plant based source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, flax helps to lower cholesterol, improve circulation, stabilize blood pressure, reduce inflammation and balance hormone levels. Add ground seeds to oatmeal or yogurt, You can use the flax oil in salad dressing instead of olive oil for a healthy change.

6. Cacao

Popular the world over, cacao, the bean responsible for giving us chocolate, has numerous health benefits, including maintaining healthy brain function. High in antioxidants that help control oxidative damage that can lead to cardiovascular disease and dementia, and containing the flavanol epicatechin which has been shown to trigger protective pathways in the brain that may help guard against stroke, cacao is a great way to protect your brain. It is important to use pure cacao, and preferably raw, rather than processed chocolate that can contain saturated fats and sugars and which will nullify the effects of the cacao. You can get cacao nibs or powder and add to smoothies, along with blueberries, for a great brain boost. Click here for some delicious cacao smoothie recipes which will also help cleanse your liver!