By Fatima Costalaurent
Certified IIN Health Coach and EWC Herbalist
Our bodies are perfect, beautiful vehicles for our adventures on Earth. They are composed by millions cells, which build tissues and organs. The whole system is ruled by Heart and Brain. Whatever is good for our brain will benefit the Heart and viceversa. Our brain is the central command center for our body. Just like the heart, it never rests. For these vital organs to live long and healthy lives, they need an abundance of the right types of nutrients, movement, rest and love. If we learn how to supply that love to our organs, we will be rewarded with a dis-ease free life.
Let’s take a look at our brains, from the nutritional perspective. What does the brain need to thrive? Well, for starters it is an energy hog, yes, like that. The brain eats up around 20% of our daily calorie intake, with as little as 2% of our total body mass. It mainly lives off of glucose, but not the candy bar type. It needs chemical free, as close to nature sources of glucose to derive its energy from. Two thirds of that energy is used by the neurons, to be able to send and receive signals. The last third is used for self-cleaning tasks. Your brain goes into self cleaning mode when you sleep, especially if you are asleep around 10pm, allowing your body to be in deep sleep so your brain can literally wash itself out, using cerebro spinal fluid.
Now let’s find out which foods are among the brain’s favorites, shall we?
Our brains love antioxidant rich foods, foods that improve oxygenation and clean fuel. Some of these are:
- Beets- Increase blood flow to the brain
- Avocado- Improves concentration and memory
- Broccoli- improves memory function and focus
- Walnuts- Increase alertness, concentration and memory, while lowering Alzheimer’s risk
- Blueberries- Protect cells from damage (anti-oxidant) and toxins
- Tomatoes- reduce oxidative stress (anti-oxidant)and preserve cognitive function
- Pumpkin seeds- reduce inflammation, nourish the part of the brain associated with problem solving. Rich in Zinc, which improves communication between neurons.
- Sweet potato- anti-inflammatory and improves glucose metabolism (clean brain fuel)
- Beans- protect the brain from damage and supply clean fuel
- Leafy greens- support Liver health, for proper toxin elimination and supply nutrients to protect cells from damage
Now for extra support we can always reach out to our herbal friends like:
- Turmeric- highly anti-inflammatory, boosts oxygenation and reduces amyloid plaque formation (alzheimers)
- Rosemary- the herb of memory! Also reduces Alzheimer’s risk and boosts focus
- Sage- improves cognition and moods. Protects against Alzheimer’s
- Gotu Kola- it is eaten like spinach in many regions, it regenerates neurons and boosts concentration. A great ally for meditation.
- Bacopa- another herbal beauty which can boost focus and concentration
- Skullcap (Scutellaria Lateriflora)- Boosts overall brain health, quiets a chatty mind and eases sleep and insomnia from restlessthoughts.
- Lemon Balm- Increases cognitive speed
- Rhodiola- helps the brain handle stress more effectively, boosts mood and reduces anxiety.
- Lion’s mane- protects against dementia, helps ease some types of autism and ADHD.
There are several formulas in the market, that combine several of these beauties. Always consult with your Doctor and work with a skilled herbalist.
There we have it. Starting to see a pattern? They are all real, single ingredient, delicious foods you can definitely build a salad with, adding herbalboosters and creating a brain nourishing, tasty meal, you can feel great about.