As the most energy-hungry organ in our body, the human brain weighs around 1.5kg but requires 25% of our resting energy expenditure every day – yep, it’s true! Our brain needs fuel to help us juggle and adapt to the new way of life of 2020. But what brain food is best for staying sharp? The temptation to reach for the snack cupboard for a sugar boost before the next meeting (or school task) is one we’ve all felt but it’s not what our brain, or body, truly desires. Check out our top 5 tips on keeping your brain healthy 🧠 and staying bright💡 throughout 2020 and beyond.
1. Oily fish for omega-3
Think salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies (did I go too far with the anchovies?). Whether you find them delicious on their own or need to hide them in a fish pie, oily fish should be a regular weekly staple. Filled with omega-3, an essential fatty acid that supports brain function and cellular health, oily fish is our best source of this nutrient. Vegetarians and vegans can still get a good intake through flaxseed, hemp, chia seeds and soybeans.
2. Green veggies for folate and beta carotene
“Eat your greens” is a phrase I say all too often but, aside from it being my favourite colour, green vegetables encompass a multitude of vitamins and minerals to support optimal health and brain function. Specifically, their vitamin K, folate and beta carotene content has been linked to slowing cognitive decline – so pack them into your meals daily!
3. Nuts for vitamin E
Another food to have shown promising results in regard to brain health – and heart health – are walnuts. Bursting with omega 3 and 6, antioxidants and vitamin E, the often underappreciated walnut supports inflammation and free-radical damage. It’s a great brain-shaped snack – nature’s way of telling us what it’s beneficial for 😉
4. Berries for antioxidants
It’s that rich, dark colour that berries have that make them so visually appealing 👀 😋 – they’re flavonoids. Responsible not only for the colour of the fruit but for the nutrients and antioxidants that fight free radicals and support brain function. It’s berry season in the UK now, a perfect time to increase our daily portion.
5. Water for hydration
Hydration is key! Our bodies are 60% water, so it isn’t surprising that dehydration is associated with headaches, fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, forgetfulness and generally feeling a bit naff! Adequate hydration helps regulate our body temperature, supports transportation of nutrients to vital organs, and the removal of waste (yep we’re talking number 1 and number 2). The average person should drink around 1.5-2 litres of water a day, throw in a hot summer’s day and some exercise and you’ll need to add at least a litre to that total!
Get more tips for staying healthy in this stressful time
We hope our guide to brain food and staying bright has provided some inspiration for your weekly shop – and will help you minimise those all too frequent trips to the fridge for those not-so-healthy snacks whilst working from home!