Just like all other muscles, our brain needs high-quality nutrients for it to function at its best. Choosing brain-healthy food containing omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and antioxidants is key to maintaining and supporting brain health as we age. The best ones to consume are green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli, all proven to slow down cognitive decline. The other is fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, cod and tuna.
But considering our busy schedules, how can we make time for healthy eating? Here are my personal favorite ways to ensure I get my daily dose of nutrients.
1. Green Juice or Smoothie
I personally love starting my mornings with a healthy smoothie. It’s such an easy way to get all the nutrients you need to get your day started. Spinach, kale, banana with a drizzle of honey is my go-to daily recipe. For days when I feel under the weather, I add some ginger or turmeric in the mix.
My brain is supercharged in the morning so I prefer to use that energy doing my most important tasks instead of thinking about what to eat. With a smoothie, I just put pre-washed produce in the blender and I’m ready to conquer the day.
2. Snack on Nuts
Feeling peckish? I know it’s a bit hard to get rid of a snacking habit so I recommend people to have nuts instead of chips. Nuts are nutrient dense and won’t lead to a sugar crash later in the day. Just don’t overdo it since they’re also high in calories.
Walnuts are incredibly good for brain health as they are high in DHA. I like to have a variety of nuts available at home as they are extremely convenient for busy days. If you’re buying from the supermarket, packaged nuts are often high in salt and oil so make sure you check the nutrient information before purchasing a bag.
3. Avoid Processed Sugar
This is your brain’s #1 enemy. Aside from the negative physical effects sugar addiction causes, research has also shown that sugar actually slows your brain down and leads to memory decline.
When you grab a sugary snack during that afternoon slump, it might initially make you feel good but what’s actually happening is you’re entering a negative cycle of sugar dependence.
Stick to fruits when you get a sugar craving. Or opt for at least 70% cacao when you reach for a chocolate bar next time and pair it with some healthy nuts. The less you eat sugar, the less you crave sugar. Slowly cut down and see how it affects your focus throughout the day.
Bonus: Get an Accountability Partner
It’s difficult to eat healthy when you’re surrounded by people who regularly indulge in high-fat and highly processed foods. Ultimately, food is something you should enjoy and share with people so it’s important to have people around you who are also committed to healthy eating.
Challenge a coworker to start your brain boosting diet. Plan your grocery with your partner and encourage each other to eat more produce throughout the week. Look for restaurants around your area that serve organic, local and healthy dishes.
Better eating habits can drastically improve your daily work performance, sharpen your focus and boost your productivity. Make healthy eating enjoyable and fun as much as you can. At some point, it will become a habit and you will be surprised at how you naturally crave nutrient-dense meals on a regular basis.