Food for thought: What to eat for better brain health
Many cultures around the globe commonly refer to food as the fuel for the body. This is an incredibly accurate summary of food though it lacks one very key element – consideration for the brain. Without brain activity, the physical motions, emotional reactions, and thought processes associated with being human simply wouldn’t take place. It would be like spending a day as a piece of coral. One would be alive but not aware or independent. Seeing as the brain is so vital to operating as a human, keeping it in good health is a necessity. This is where the food as fuel and brain health combine. If one is intentional about giving their body food items that offer benefits to the overall health of their brain, they will be rewarded in the short and long term. Film-maker Morgan Spurlock phrased it slightly differently, “Sorry, there’s no magic bullet. You gotta eat healthy and live healthy to be healthy and look healthy. End of story.”
The sheer number of food options can make determining what is beneficial or not a difficult process. To identify foods to eat for better brain health, we connected with a few experts.
Fish containing fat
Ryan Rottman is the Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB, a brand offering an online sports database. Rottman suggests looking at the variety of fish options which include natural fat.
“I think at this point, everyone has heard from their grandma or great aunt that they should be taking fish oil pills. Believe it or not, they’re dead on with their advice. Our brains contain a large amount of the same elements found in these fish. Over half your brain is built on fat and a large portion of that is built around the omega-3 fatty acid. Fish containing fat are one of the best food sources for these two things. Nothing special needs to be done to the fish at all, they naturally grow this way. Just be sure you identify a fish with these fats as not all have them.”
Eating candy seems counterproductive to health. JOI is a business providing plant milk concentrates. Their CEO, Hector Gutierrez, advises a change of thinking in a specific area.
“Chocolate is one of those things that once you start eating it, it’s hard to put it away, at least for me. So, when I discovered that eating dark chocolate was good for my brain I was thrilled. High-quality dark chocolate has cocoa in it which is a natural antioxidant, and these have a far-reaching impact inside your head. First, the consumption of antioxidants has been shown to help stave off any mental decline caused by age or disease. Just that alone should be enough to convince you to add this to your diet. But there’s more. These specific antioxidants have also been shown to influence the growth and blood flow of the brain.”
Lots of colors
Cleared specializes in personalized care for people who suffer from mild to severe allergies. Their CMO and Co-Founder, Dr. Payel Gupta, considers the pigment of one’s food to be telling of a healthy diet.
“One of the simplest ways to tell if your diet is benefiting you or not is to look at the color palette of what you eat. If you’re seeing consistency across meals and food categories, you could be doing your brain a disservice. Obviously, I’m not referring to the artificial dyes in junk food here. Vegetables and fruit have more colors than one could likely name off the top of their heads. This isn’t the most scientific way of putting it, but these various colors contain things good for your brain. It’s a simple approach but natural color is best.”
Rym Selmi is the Founder of MiiRO, a brand offering plant-based vegan chocolates, and baking ingredients. She cautions others not to ignore the benefits offered by eggs no matter the preparation style.
“On the surface, the biggest perk of eggs may seem like the price. While that’s absolutely nothing to scoff at, I’d argue that there’s a bigger perk to notice. Why do you think athletes consume eggs in large quantities consistently? The most popular answer here would be protein but that’s not what I’m getting at. Eggs also contain choline which is a brain anti-inflammatory as a performance enhancer when it comes to things like memory or when the brain is communicating within itself. Furthermore, eggs have this incredible versatility that most foods don’t, so you’ll never bore them so long as you muster up some creativity.”
There are times when the brain needs a jumpstart. Personal Trainer Pioneer is a business providing a valuable tool to help you become a certified personal trainer. Their Founder and Senior Editor, Tyler Read, proposes using coffee for the jumpstart and even more.
“A cup of coffee a day packs a twofold advantage that plays out on a daily and long-term basis. First, is the one that everyone is aware of – caffeine. Some of us take a little longer to wake up than others and the kick provided by caffeine is just what we need to get our day rolling. But the second advantage isn’t something you’ll feel cognitively. Coffee also has antioxidants. There have been discoveries which lead experts to believe that these lower the risk of developing something like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Now you can see why it’s a double advantage.”
The Quality Edit specializes in curating the web’s best direct-to-consumer brands. Their Co-Founder, Lauren Kleinman, believes the numerous options and impacts of berries should convince everyone to make them a staple.
“Food trends are a fickle and yet funny thing. But sometimes, they really hit the nail on the head. For example, antioxidants were once touted seemingly everywhere and on everything. While they have taken somewhat of a backseat in the advertising world, the good things they’re capable of haven’t gone anywhere. It’s widely believed that antioxidants can bring down stress levels and any swelling within your brain. On top of this, as we age, our brain must create new ways to communicate. Without this, learning and improving personally wouldn’t happen. Antioxidants aid this process as well, so aging becomes far more graceful.”
Jason Reposa is the Founder and CEO of Good Feels, a brand offering cannabis-infused seltzers and beverage enhancers. He advises others to look to food items such as beans or nuts when attempting to better one’s brain health.
“Anyone with even a small amount of knowledge about how the brain works will direct you towards antioxidants if you’re trying to take care of your brain. There are so many wonderful food sources to get these into your system but, in my opinion, legumes like walnuts, red beans or lentils are the way to go. They’re both enjoyable eating and a strong source of antioxidants. You can go down a deep rabbit trail when it comes to understanding what antioxidants do for your brain but simply put, it operates more efficiently and effectively.”
Food choices can often boil down to a matter of taste preference. Patriot Coolers is a business providing a collection of coolers and insulated drinkware. Their Business Development Manager, Marcus Hutsen, considers lamb the best option because of how unique it is.
“Red meat tends to be a food that our doctors try to steer us away from. For good reason too, an excessive amount of it can wreak havoc on our internals. However, there is one singular type of red meat that has been proven to help people maintain their cognitive abilities later into life. That meat is lamb. I can’t say what it is about this meat that is different from its counterparts but if you’re going to go with red meat for dinner, why not help your future self in the process?”
Above is more than enough information to get even the most uncertain headed in the right direction when it comes to brain health. It is important to remember that consistency is key with food in order to see results. TV personality and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel put it best, “Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.”