By Kristin Kessler, RD
Food can feed your belly, food can feed your soul, but did you also know that food can feed your brain? While an overall healthy diet is important to keep your brain functioning at top speed, certain foods can boost brain function. Try some of our favorite brainy foods to make sure you’re getting all of the nutrients your hungry mind needs.
Opt for Omega-3 Fatty Acids
With all of the positive press, it should come as no surprise that foods containing a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids are number one on this list! Feed your brain with this light and refreshing Salmon & Dill Green Bean Salad, perfect for warm summer nights. If you’re not a salmon fan, substitute another fatty fish such as mackerel or tuna. If you’re a vegetarian or don’t like fish, pick up flaxseed oil or walnuts during your next trip to the grocery store.
Eat Probiotic-Rich Foods
Have you ever heard of the gut-brain connection? It may sound like something from a science fiction movie, but recent research has taught us that our gastrointestinal system and brain are much more connected than we thought. Keep your intestines happy and healthy with gut-friendly bacteria called probiotics, which can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and miso. For your next dinner, try out this Chickpea and Kraut Pasta Toss. To maximize intake of probiotics, avoid heating the sauerkraut too much or serve it on the side at room temperature. Your gut and brain will thank you!
Whole Grains for the Brain
You can literally feed your hungry mind by opting for whole grains throughout the day. The brain’s favorite supply of energy comes in the form of glucose. Whole wheat bread or pasta, brown rice and oatmeal are rich in whole grains and release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, helping you to keep you feeling happy and mentally alert throughout the day. The brown rice in this Creamy Coconut & Veggie Brown Rice Pilaf with Honey Roasted Pecans will help keep you sharp as a tack.