6 Proven Ways To Fuel For Optimal Brain Health
Do you ever get that feeling of staring at your screen and not really being able to concentrate? This was me yesterday! Adam and I had just gone through a crazy stressful day Tuesday deciding to make an offer on a house (we didn’t get it), and just like anything, the first time you do it is SO intense! (I’m hoping it gets easier?)
Anyway, I took my own advice and let myself have a very restful day yesterday, and am feeling better today. While my feeling yesterday was short term, this had me thinking about brain health and how we take it for granted, yet it’s one of the most integral parts to our life!
So without further ado, here are 6 ways to fuel for optimal brain health:
You might be wondering how a probiotic, full of bacteria, can impact your brain health? It all comes down to inflammation, one of the cornerstones to brain health. Inflammation decreases brain health, and probiotics help reduce inflammation. For a full explanation, watch this video here on how probiotics improve brain health.
I think we all know exercise is good, but here’s just one more reason. A study (1) done by UBC showed that aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart pumping and makes you sweat, can increase the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with verbal memory and learning.
This isn’t a ticket to chocolate bars, but rather raw cacao in your smoothies, homemade hot chocolates, or in baking is fantastic for brain health. In a study (2) put out by researchers at the University of L’Aquila in Italy, 90 individuals with mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease drank a cocoa beverage containing either moderate or high levels of flavanols daily for eight weeks demonstrated greater cognitive function than those who consumed low levels of flavanols. The test measured factors that included verbal fluency, visual searching and attention.
The brain is 60% fat, so if you’re still on the low fat bandwagon…get off it! Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are perfect sources of Omega 3s which is critical for brain health. Within Omega 3s, there is a particular type that you want to focus on for your brain, which is DHA (3) . You’ll notice if you take Omega 3s, there will be a DHA and EPA quantity on the bottle. Aim for one with at least 200mg of DHA and make sure to be buying a good quality brand as not all fish oil is created equal. I like NutraSea by Ascenta Health.
Working Your Brain
If you’ve been following me on Snapchat, you’ll see that I recently jumped on the adult colouring book bandwagon. While I did it as a relaxing evening activity while I’m chatting on the phone (yes, a long distance relationship means I still talk on the phone in the evenings haha) or watching Netflix, or just having a quiet night, it actually trains your brain to focus and works on fine motor skills.
Quite simply, low Vitamin D may impair cognitive function (4). Given most of you reading this experience winter months of little sun, I recommend getting your Vitamin D levels tested. Vitamin D is important for brain health, but also bone health, and protecting against other diseases like Type I diabetes.
What you need to remember
Chronic brain fog, the inability to concentrate and a general feeling of not remembering things is not normal and isn’t just a factor of aging. It will require more than what’s listed above. If you feel that you’re already eating well, and still feeling foggy minded, or unable to concentrate, book a time to chat with me here (at no charge).