At this time of year, we can all use a little brain boost. Here are five easy ways to give our brains a much needed boost.
Eat Wild Salmon
Our brains are surprisingly fatty (over 60%!) and need omega-3 fatty acids for nervous system function, mood regulation, and attention and memory function. Our bodies can’t make omega-3s, and unfortunately, most Americans are deficient in these life-essential healthy fats.
But no worries! We can rely on our diet to get omega-3s and salmon is one of the richest, readily available sources of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids.
We recommend eating three ounces of wild salmon (or its Sidekicks like Alaskan halibut, certain canned tuna and sardines, and trout) two to four times a week.
Enjoy A Handful of Walnuts
Walnuts are rich in plant-based omega-3s and vitamin E which are both beneficial to our brains. Plant-based omega-3s, like the ones found in walnuts, are different than the marine-based omega-3s found in salmon, but they still have many similar benefits.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that has been found to protect our brains and help with cognitive and motor function.
Because walnuts are high in fat, they go bad quickly. We recommend keeping them in the freezer and taking out what you need each week. This also will help you remember to eat one ounce a day of this delicious brain-boosting food.
Add Some Blueberries
Did you know blueberries pack a powerful nutritional punch? Yep, and they’re yummy too! Blueberries, especially the small wild ones, are one of the three key SuperFoods because they’re loaded with antioxidant phytonutrients which help protect our brains from oxidative stress.
These phytonutrients can help with overall brain health, cognitive ability, and motor skills. And they may help fight against many of the degenerative diseases that plague us as we age.
Exercise increases blood flow to our brains and reduces the production of stress hormones, like cortisol, that can negatively impact our brains.
Exercise also stimulates physiological changes in our brains that can help improve cognitive ability and make our brains more flexible and adaptive to change. We recommend at least 30 minutes of brisk activity every day for good mental, as well as physical, health.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is not a luxury. It’s essential to good mental health. The main function of sleep is to refresh our brains and when we don’t get enough sleep it affects our motor and cognitive abilities and mood. Even moderate sleep debt can impair neurological and motor functioning.
Many of us think we’re getting enough sleep but in reality, we aren’t. And more importantly, we’re not even aware of our reduced brain performance! We recommend most adults get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night for optimum brain health.
Taking care of our brain health is possible. Eating wild salmon, walnuts, and blueberries along with getting enough exercise and sleep are the best ways to give our brains a boost.