With the new year comes a few new resolutions. Whether it’s wanting a slimmer waistline, a healthier lifestyle, a strong relationship with others or just wanting to add a few more books to your reading list, we all have the best intentions for 2013. To get the motivation going you need to up your brain power first. But how do we exercise the squishy yet powerful organ between our ears? First and foremost, PLAY WITH IT. Yes, you read that right – PLAY. Thank to the awesome folks at Lumosity, you can sharpen your mind and kickstart your brain power just by playing games. But it doesn’t stop there……incorporating more of your favorite brain foods can get that noggin into super hero shape in no time. Ready to be the smarty at the party? Then Lets Do The DIY Thang by adding a few of these tasty wonders to your daily diet.
1. Apples: Keep Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s at bay with this delicious treat. By eating just one a day, you not only cover your desire to increase more fruits and veggies into your diet, but the magical nutrient called quercetin (a phytonutrient) protects the brain from oxidative damage that causes such neurodegenerative diseases.
2. Asparagus: Asparagus is rich in folic acid, which is essential for the metabolism of the long chain fatty acids in your brain.
3. Lean Beef: Lean beef is rich in vitamin B12, iron and zinc. These vitamins and minerals have been shown to maintain a healthy neural tissue. Opt for the organic or local non-hormone or antibiotic farm raised meats when at all possible, for obvious reasons.
4. Blueberries and strawberries: Studies show that these berries improve short term memory and motor skills but the antioxidant properties also protect your brain from the dreaded oxidative process.
5. Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate offers incredible concentration powers. It is a very powerful antioxidant containing natural stimulants that increase the production of feel-good endorphins and is also shown to improve heart health. But not all cacao’s are created equal. Find dark chocolate with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving for optimal benefits.
6. Salmon: Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown to be essential for brain function. And on a cedar plank with a bit of lemon & butter, it’s intelligently delicious!
7. Dried oregano: Yup, that’s right. In several studies, this powerful spice has shown to have 40 times more antioxidant properties than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and 4 times more than that of blueberries or strawberries. And as Guy Fieri will tell you, dried oregano is 5 times more powerful flavor wise than it’s fresh counterpart so be care when tossing into your next batch of ‘gravy’!
8. Walnuts: Walnuts are rich in protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and B6 which all promote healthy neural tissue. They’re also an awesome ‘on-the-go’ treat!
9. Whole grains: Whole grains deliver fiber and vitamin E that help promote cardiovascular health, which helps improve the circulation to the brain. Make sure you’re using only organic, non-GMO grains though…..otherwise you’re ingesting a slow working poison.
10. Yogurt: Yogurt and other dairy foods are filled with protein and vitamin B that are essential to improve the communication between nerve cells. Reach for yogurt with active cultures that help to aide in your digestion to make this a dual-purpose treat!
Wishing you the tastiest and smartest new year yet! Now if we could just find a way to eat ourselves into a stronger body (as well as mind) without the sweat and tears of Tabata, we’d be the happiest non-gym member camper around!