These are my top picks when it comes to foods that nourish your brain, heart, gut, muscles, immune system and more. Can you boost your brainpower with the foods you eat? You bet. Topping the list of brain-boosting superfoods are foods high in healthy fats. This should come as no surprise considering your brain is mainly made up of fats.
1. Avocados are a great source of healthy oleic acid (monounsaturated fat, which is also found in olive oil), which helps decrease inflammation. Avocados have also been shown to effectively combat nearly every aspect of metabolic syndrome, a risk factor of dementia and most other chronic disease.
Aside from providing healthy fats, avocados also provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including potassium, which helps balance your vitally important potassium to sodium ratio.
2. Organic coconut oil. Besides being excellent for your thyroid and your metabolism, its medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) are a source of ketone bodies, which act as an alternate source of brain fuel that can help prevent the brain atrophy associated with dementia.
MCTs also impart a number of health benefits, including raising your body’s metabolism and fighting off pathogens.
3. Grass fed butter and ghee. About 20 percent of butterfat consists of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which are used right away for quick energy and therefore don’t contribute to fat levels in your blood. Therefore, a significant portion of the butter you consume is used immediately for energy, similar to a carbohydrate.
Ghee, which has a higher smoke point than butter, is a healthy fat particularly well-suited for cooking. It also has a longer shelf life.
4. Organic pastured eggs. Many of the healthiest foods are rich in cholesterol and saturated fats, and eggs are no exception. Cholesterol is needed for the regulation of protein pathways involved in cell signaling and other cellular processes.
It’s particularly important for your brain, which contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body. It is vital for synapse formation, i.e., the connections between your neurons, which allow you to think, learn new things and form memories.
5. Wild-caught salmon and other fatty fish. While most fish suffer drawbacks related to contamination, wild-caught salmon and other small, fatty fish, such as sardines and anchovies, are still noteworthy for their health benefits in light of their low risk of contamination.
Wild-caught salmon and other oily fish are high in omega-3 fats necessary for optimal brain (and heart) health. Research also suggests eating oily fish once or twice a week may increase your life span.
Avoid farmed salmon, however, as they’ve been identified as one of the most toxic foods in the world. For tips on how to cook salmon steaks, see this salmon cooking guide.
6. Organic raw nuts such as macadamia and pecans. Macadamia nuts have the highest fat and lowest protein and carb content of any nut, and about 60 percent of the fat is the monounsaturated fat oleic acid.This is about the level found in olives, which are well-known for their health benefits.
A single serving of macadamia nuts also provides 58 percent of what you need in manganese and 23 percent of the recommended daily value of thiamin. Pecans are a close second to macadamia nuts on the fat and protein scale, and they also contain anti-inflammatory magnesium, heart healthy oleic acid, phenolic antioxidants and immune-boosting manganese.
Unfortunately menopause does seem to affect our thinking, and brain fog/freeze can be the result.
A healthy diet, mental stimulation and good hormone balance can all make a difference and it is an area where you can do much to help yourself.