Given everything that’s gone on so far in 2020 (we still have a bit to go!) we’re going back and updating some of our most popular posts that seem relevant for today! Here’s one of our favourites on foods that fuel our brain.
It’s hard not to feel totally overwhelmed or just burnt out by the time we sit down for dinner. Most of us are taking in thousands of messages every day, many of them negative news stories, world challenges, and day to day obstacles. There’s probably a reason we drink so much coffee every day!
It’s funny that we rest an injured limb, eat to soothe a virus, or relax when we’re exhausted but what are we doing to re-charge and energize our minds? Many of us take solace in meditation, yoga, or a creative outlet but it’s actually pretty simple to eat or take supplements for brain health as well.
Scientists have made some fascinating links between foods and brain function. Here are some nutrients that have been discovered to boost memory, clarity, focus, and overall brain health.
Magnesium is essential to the health of our bodies, as it enables us to produce energy and regulates over 300 chemical reactions in our bodies.
A deficiency in magnesium is often linked to symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and irritability. If you think you might be magnesium deficient, go see your health care provider.
For many of us, taking a magnesium supplement has been shown to improve brain function, fight memory loss, and fight the early on-set stages of Alzheimer’s.
Fish and fish oil is the most well-known source for Omega 3 but vegetarians and vegans know that it can be found in flax oil, chia seeds, and walnuts. These fatty acids are essential to cell make-up not only fight off heart disease, joint pain, and inflammation, but also showed to improve clarity and focus in children with ADHD in a recent study.
Omega 3 is essential to good health and yet it’s been estimated that almost 60% of Americans are deficient in these fatty acids. That means that omega 3 supplements is a smart idea for many of us.
This amino acid is naturally produced by the body to turn fat into energy. Countless studies have looked at the effects of taking it in a supplement form. Patients with Alzheimer’s have reported increased focus and clarity after taking ALCAR supplements which might make sense considering it has shown to increase blood flow to the brain.
Taking ALCAR in supplement form has also shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression. However if you are currently taking other medication or suffering from any other ailments or symptoms make sure to check with your doctor before taking ALCAR supplements.
Ginseng truly is a wondrous food that is studied all over the world for its medicinal and healing properties. People have used this herb for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments in China but North Americans have embraced its healing qualities as well. As an adaptogenic herb it supports your adrenaline system and has the ability to both calm and energize you by making you better prepared for mental and physical stresses.
It’s also an antioxidant that supports your brain function and can fight memory loss. In addition, it has been shown to help with insomnia, fatigue & anxiety, and some effects of menopause. Plus there have been some studies that have shown that ginseng can reduce the chances of cancer!
All this makes for one powerful superfood!
Many of us have heard or maybe tried melatonin supplements to help us sleep but this hormone is actually a powerful antioxidant that has more than one benefit for our bodies and minds. Studies have shown that it’s a powerful supplement in preventing migraines, reducing incidences of type 2 diabetes, and preventing cancer.
Melatonin supplements are also a great therapeutic resource as well, not only helping you control your sleep cycles and keep your stress manageable.
We’ve written about the benefits of green tea before and even a list of 20 things to add to your green tea to fight inflammation, anxiety, and digestive issues. Which is to say, we’re big fans of green tea. Two cups of green tea a day have been linked to sharpening mental focus among the elderly and were least likely to show cognitive impairment.
Like melatonin, valerian root is a powerful sleep aid but studies show that it is less likely to leave you feeling drowsy the next morning. It has also been found to increases the amount of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain which reduces symptoms of anxiety or stress.
Pumpkin seeds are one of our favourite things to add to salads, pizzas, roasted veggies, and in sauces. For one we love a bit of texture but pumpkin seeds are also loaded with zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron. They’re also high in antioxidants which help neutralize free radicals in the body.
Most of us know vanilla as the delicious oil that we add to baking for flavour but vanilla extract from the vanilla root has some powerful properties. It contains numerous antioxidants that fight inflammation and could potentially lower cholesterol.
Scientists have been able to prove that inflammation is directly correlated to anxiety, stress, and depression which means vanilla extract can help fight symptoms of these illnesses. Not only that but vanilla oil has been shown to reduce high blood pressure.
Read our article on overcoming anxiety next!