Eating For A Healthy Brain

The goal of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is to help heal our heroes who have sustained traumatic brain injuries and psychological health conditions while serving our country. Because March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, we’ve shared plenty of content about brain injuries, their causes, symptoms, and the treatments being provided at our Intrepid Spirit Centers. However it’s important to keep in mind that brain health is something that applies to everyone, injured or not. This week, we’ll spotlight foods that help fuel the brain. As with any part of the body, there are foods that specifically help strengthen and improve brain health and there are many options that can easily be incorporated into meals throughout the day.

The most important meal of the day offers a lot of options to fuel a healthy brain. For starters, egg yolks contain a vitamin-B-like nutrient called choline. Studies have shown that choline correlates with better performance on certain types of tests. Fruits such as blueberries and strawberries (which are great on their own or in cereal/oatmeal) possess protective antioxidants which are linked to improved memory and coordination.

Then, there’s the kickstart of the day: Coffee. Coffee can also have a powerful impact on brain health. The caffeine in coffee speeds up reaction times and also can improve short-term memory. Not a coffee drinker? Green tea has been known to improve cognitive functions, so it’s also a brain-friendly drink to kickstart the morning.

Lunch & Snacks
Leafy greens such as kale and spinach can help improve memory later in life, according to studies. They make a great base for a lunchtime salad, and can easily pair with vitamin-E rich walnuts (which help reduce the risk of Alzheimers). Drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil on top too. Extra virgin olive oil improves memory and learning. Leafy greens are also easy to work into many meals, from a breakfast omelette or lunchtime salad, to a steamed dinnertime side.

Walnuts, mentioned above, make for a great brain-healthy snack on their own too. For something sweeter, dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain (and the heart). Also, pumpkin seeds contain a host of brain-boosters including zinc (enhances memory and thinking skills) and magnesium (helps reduce stress).

When it’s time for a brain-healthy dinner, omega-3 fatty acids are a favorite of the brain. Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are great sources of omega-3, and make for a great main course. They’re speculated to help improve brain performance in young adults, and also improve the retention of brain cells. Another great food to incorporate, which may help improve brain power is broccoli, along with the leafy greens kale and spinach mentioned above.

With helpful tips like these to keep you and your family sharp, we’re confident that you can think up plenty of imaginative ways to spend some quality time together. Have some ideas of your own to share? Tell us on Facebook!

Posted on March 19 2018 in Blog

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