If you are what you eat, then what does your daily diet say about you? If you’re feeling a little cloudy and mentally cluttered, then it may be time to adjust what’s on your menu.
The food you eat can affect your brain in a matter of minutes, according to neurologist Majid Fotuhi, MD, chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness.
“You don’t need scientific evidence to know that if you have a doughnut, after a while — it could be minutes or an hour — you feel tired and drained because of the spike in blood sugar,” he says. “And of course, you know that when you’re hungry, you’re grumpy and you usually can’t make good decisions.”
It’s true — we all know that a daily diet consisting of fresh fruit, organic vegies and/or lean meats (with limited processed foods and sugary treats) is the healthiest way to be.
This is especially the case if you struggle with anxiety or mental clutter, says health and wellness expert Sam Beau Patrick, author of Beauty and the Beast Within. “If you suffer with anxiety, try eating cleaner, meaning no chemicals and no packaged foods,” she says. “Chemical additives such as 412, 415, 160a, 160 b, 620-635 can all cause anxiety and some of these are ‘natural’. They are in ice-cream, yoghurts, butter, lollies, chips, crackers and all sorts of foods.”
So you know what to eliminate — but what should you be adding to your grocery list this week?
Omega-3 rich foods: Fish, walnuts, kiwi fruit
An oldie but a goodie, fish is the ultimate “brain food” for kids and adults. Synapses connect your brain’s neurons and are important for learning and memory. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids — found in foods such as salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit — can give your brain’s synapses a boost and help fight against a range of mental disorders, from depression to dementia.
CoEnzyme Q10-rich foods: Fish, chicken, beef
A nutrient that helps the brain think, CoQ10 is a molecule present in meat, chicken and fish that assists with energy production and acts as an antioxidant. According to a 2002 University of California study, there is evidence that CoQ10 slowed brain deterioration in those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Antioxidant-rich food: Blueberries, rasberries, strawberries
The antioxidants in blueberries help protect the brain from free-radical damage and can also improve cognitive processing, which is essentially your ability to think! Wild blueberries, if you can find them, are thought to have even more brain-boosting antioxidants than the regular cultivated variety.
It smells as delicious as it tastes, and for good reason — researchers actually believe the scent of peppermint is just as beneficial as the taste, as the fragrance helps you focus and boosts performance while making you more alert and less anxious.