Foods that will keep your brain in tip-top shape!
Taking care of your brain is crucial to leading a healthy life. Poor brain health can lead to cognitive decay, memory loss, mental illness, and diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are a lot of things you can do to keep your mental game strong. One of the most beneficial methods is to make sure your diet includes plenty of “brain” foods! And this is where our collection of the 10 best recipes to eat for brain health come in! The ingredients used in these recipes boost cognitive function and keep your brain happy and healthy.
Brain Healthy Ingredients
The brain is a complex organ that requires different nutrients to stay healthy (much like any other organ)! These include things like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, and a wide range of beneficial minerals and compounds.
Consuming a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce cognitive decline in elderly patients. A high, healthy-fat diet is also used to treat mood disorders. Some studies have even shown an improvement in traumatic brain injury and reduced cognitive decay in Alzheimer’s disease. These healthy fats are found in things like nuts, seeds, seafood, avocado, and vegetable oils.
You can find antioxidants such as vitamin A, B, C, D, and E in fresh fruits and veggies. They’re especially potent in berries, citrus fruits, and brightly colored vegetables like eggplant, spinach, and bell peppers. Why are antioxidants important? Studies suggest that they may preserve cognitive function and prevent memory loss.
Complex carbohydrates are carbs that are found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They are called complex for a reason. Not only do they provide carbohydrates in the form of glucose, but they also offer essential nutrients like fiber, B vitamins (which promote memory function!), and important minerals.
Compared to simple carbs which include things like sugar, white flour, and sugar syrups, these complex carbohydrates offer filling and healthy nutrients that you and your brain need! Fun fact: the brain requires carbohydrates in the form of glucose for energy. It can’t use anything else! Sorry, protein and fat.
Furthermore, complex carbs protect brain cells against damage from free radicals because of their high amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. And due to their high fiber content, complex carbohydrates provide a steadier and longer lasting source of brain fuel than simple carbs do.
10 Recipes to Eat for Brain Health
We’ve created a list of 10 recipes to eat for brain health. They fit the criteria because they include all of the essential elements: healthy fats, antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, and even more beneficial vitamins and minerals. The cherry on top? They all taste a-m-a-z-i-n-g!
1. Avocado Tuna Salad
Avocado and tuna are both rich in healthy fats and promote healthy brain function. Try this creamy and delicious salad for a midday brain boost! It will keep you full and energized for hours.
Try it: Avocado Tuna Salad
2. Baked Salmon Foil Packet with Mushrooms and Garlic
Salmon is the star player for brain health in this recipe, due to it’s high omega-3 content. That being said, mushrooms add a major vitamin D boost, which is neuroprotective and important for brain cell generation. Whip up this easy and nutritious meal, tonight!
Here’s the recipe: Baked-to-Perfection Salmon Foil Packet with Mushroom and Garlic
3. Avocado and Grape Salad with Walnuts
Another avocado-rich recipe, this salad also packs in the nuts for even more omega-3’s as well as grapes, an antioxidant-rich fruit. All of these healthy components make this salad the perfect brain food.
Give it a Try: Avocado and Grape Salad with Walnuts
4. Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters
Dark chocolate has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, leading to improved cognitive function. Along with omega-3 rich nuts, this simple and delicious recipe is the perfect little brain-healthy snack or dessert.
Try it: Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters
5. Healthy Collard Greens
Leafy greens, such as collard greens, are super rich in antioxidants due to a component called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the compound that causes the green color in leafy greens, but it’s also very high in vitamins and minerals that are essential for brain and overall health.
Here’s the recipe: Healthy Collard Greens
6. Orange Sesame Salad Dressing
Oranges are a classic vitamin C food, which is important for cognitive preservation and immune function. Sesame oil is also a beneficial ingredient in this dressing, as it has been shown to have neuroprotective effects in several brain dysfunction studies.
Try this Dressing: Orange Sesame Salad Dressing
7. Slow Cooker Carrot and Turmeric Soup
The main property in turmeric called curcumin has been shown to reduce cognitive decay in Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury. It’s also a strong antioxidant, promoting immune health and prevention of chronic diseases.
Try this recipe: Slow Cooker Carrot and Turmeric Soup
8. Maple Coffee Ice Pops
Coffee contains caffeine, which in moderation can promote brain function and alertness. These yummy maple coffee ice pops offer a unique way to try this cognitive boosting ingredient.
Make them: Maple Coffee Ice Pops
9. Berries with Homemade Pomegranate Syrup
Get your brain healthy antioxidant boost from this berry-rich recipe. Pomegranate is especially high in polyphenols, which benefit memory and other cognitive functions. The perfect topping for desserts, breakfasts, and salads, try this recipe out for your brain (and tastebuds!)
Here’s the recipe: Berries with Homemade Pomegranate Syrup
10. Sweetly Spiced Granola
In this recipe, we’ve got some star players such as amaranth, a unique complex carb, and pecans, an omega-3 rich nut. Altogether, this granola recipe will keep you and your brain, full and happy!
Make it: Sweetly Spiced Granola