You’ve most likely heard it countless times in your lifetime: “you are what you eat.” As cliché as the phrase is, this dietary idiom does have merit to it. In fact, your gut’s biome has an enormous impact on how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. The food you consume is directly tied to how your brain is able to operate, and you have the power to use it as a brain supplement rather than a detriment. Oftentimes, the foods you find yourself craving on a bad day can actually make you feel worse in the long run. So, what foods should you eat to help with brain performance? Let’s walk through how a balanced diet can help act as brain health supplements–and a few lists of foods to try out!
Foods to Consume as Brain Health Supplements
When you’re looking to transition into healthier eating habits, one of the best places to begin is how you think about the food you are consuming. A balanced diet consists of a regular mix of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and lean proteins– and getting into the habit of keeping this balance is a great start! You should pair this healthy mix with a healthier food ideology, too. When you’re putting together your next meal, consider the following: “what are these foods doing for my body?” and “how does this food supplement my health?”
Shifting into this perspective will help you be more thoughtful of your dietary decisions and address any current issues in your mental state. If you’re feeling sluggish and tired, for example, you’ll know which foods can counteract that. Using this method of thinking in conjunction with a regular, balanced diet will help your brain perform to its fullest potential. Get started by familiarizing yourself with a few natural brain health supplements that occur in each of the balanced diet food groups:
Neglecting to include protein in your diet could lead to several brain impairments: slower development and cognitive function, lower energy levels, shorter attention spans, lessened appetite, and more. That’s because consuming protein helps increase your body’s levels of norepinephrine and dopamine. These two chemicals are responsible for several key brain performance functions including its ability to concentrate, motivate, and regulate mood.
Suggested foods: white-fleshed fish, Greek yogurt, beans, peas, lentils, white meat poultry, tofu, lean beef, and peanut butter
Not only are these brain supplements a powerful antioxidant, but they are especially effective at boosting cognitive function. Polyphenols protect neurons from injury caused by harmful neurotoxins and thus limit unnecessary cell death within the brain. Because of this, ongoing research continues into their key role in delaying age-related cognitive disorders and illnesses. Consuming polyphenols regularly will help improve your overall brain function, memory and learning.
Suggested foods: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, nuts, red onion, spinach, and artichoke
- Vitamin D + Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids often exist within the same food items, and their health benefits combine to assist your brain with several essential functions.
The central nervous system and hippocampus have vitamin D receptors throughout, and the vitamin plays a key role in neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth. Your levels of vitamin D help with several functions of brain performance: neurodevelopment, cognitive function, and mood being at the forefront. Regularly eating foods that have high levels of vitamin D will decrease anxiety and depression, and reduce your susceptibility to dementia, schizophrenia, and more. Omega-3s are well known for their assistance during the brain development process from infancy well into adulthood. These fatty acids improve the signals sent between your cells and sharpen your memory, making them ideal brain health supplements.
Suggested foods: mackerel, tuna, salmon, oysters, sardines, mushrooms, soybeans, and yogurt
- Phytonutrients + Vitamin C
Similar to vitamin D and omega-3s, phytonutrients and Vitamin C are typically found within the same food items and provide similar cognitive benefits. Phytonutrients function as protectors against stress and inflammation. Vitamin C works to reduce depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Both brain supplements are essential in preserving neuroplasticity and keeping the brain’s memory and mood centers healthy.
Suggested foods: tomatoes, bell peppers, dark green leafy vegetables, bananas, mangos, oranges, strawberries, and cacao
Brain Health Supplements as a Balanced Diet
Now that you are familiar with a few of the most common brain health supplements and the foods they naturally occur in, you can make more informed dietary choices involving the simple formula: fresh fruits + fresh vegetables + whole grains + legumes + nuts + lean proteins = a balanced diet. You should strive to include as many categories as possible on a daily basis, and switch up your options regularly. Eating a balanced diet can get dull if you consume the same food items regularly, and you have many options to choose from to get the nutrients your brain needs to be healthy.
If you find yourself needing additional supplements to help with brain performance, our team at BIPRI has dedicated itself to cultivating the best combinations to improve your cognitive function. We are available for any questions you may have and would love to offer additional guidance. You can reach out to us any time on our website or at 615-933-5188 during business hours.