Eating healthy is one of the best ways to keep your body functioning optimally. This includes the brain, which needs a good share of fatty acids, vitamin E and antioxidants. Below is a list of my top picks for comfort foods for memory and brain health.
Chocolate is one of the most common comfort foods. Interestingly, the cacao plant has many beneficial health properties, including improved cognitive abilities. This means eating chocolate could mean improved memory and attention span.
Researchers at the University of L’Aquila, Italy, published the following:
…cocoa flavanols administration can be effective at sustaining cognitive performance, leading to improvements in measures of general cognition, attention, processing speed and memory.
Another way that cacao affects the brain is by stimulating the endocannabinoid system. Consuming cacao increases the production of the endocannabinoid anandamide, which makes you feel more relaxed.
The main thing to be aware of when buying dark chocolate snacks is the amount of cacao within them. I would recommend that you opt for products with preferably 70% or higher amount of cacao. Also, always check the ingredients so you can avoid chemical additives.
Savory and Sweet Nut Snacks
Nuts contain many nutrients that benefit brain health. For example, most nut varieties are rich in Vitamin E, which can help prevent cognitive decline.
Researchers from Harvard University published a study that concluded that “higher nut intake may be related to better overall cognition at older ages.” Another study at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center showed that people who at a diet rich in Vitamin E were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. This disease typically robs people of their memory.
Nuts are an easy snack because they need no preparation. There are now various high-quality nut products and snacks available at nearly every store. Just make sure to check the ingredients to avoid for chemical additives. Of course, raw nuts make a delicious snack on their own.
Moreover, you can easily create your own savory and sweet nut snack by mixing your favorite raw nuts and seeds with some maple syrup for 5 minutes on the stove top. Then, all you need to do is spread the mixture on some parchment paper or on a cookie sheet and allow to cool and harden.
A warm cup of tea is one of the most relaxing beverages. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, has a calming effect on the mental state. Researchers at University College London showed that tea helps bring stress hormone levels back to normal.
Now, in addition to its mood soothing properties, tea can further benefit brain health if you infuse it with turmeric. Research has shown that turmeric effectively protects the brain from aging. As well, it may even reverse age-related decline in brain function. One function that often diminishes with age is memory.
Together, turmeric and tea make a comforting elixir for brain health. You can make your own turmeric tea. Start by boiling sliced turmeric root for about 60 minutes. Then, pour over your favorite tea leaves, and add honey to taste. Because of its powerful flavor, turmeric also makes a great addition to chai tea.
Rosemary Savory Snacks
Studies have shown that rosemary can have a significant effect on a person’s ability to remember. A group of researchers in University of Northumbria, England, found that the aroma of the rosemary essential oil has a positive effect on cognitive performance.
People have linked rosemary to improvements in memory throughout history. Even William Shakespeare wrote about this connection in Hamlet, when Ophelia says to her brother Laertes: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
Now, when you’re looking for some salty and crunchy snacks, there are now many products flavored with rosemary. We often complain about the food industry with all of their chemically enhanced foods. Yet, modern food technology also allows food producers to make snacks infused with delicious and healthy herbs and spices.
Avocados are the main ingredient in delicious guacamole dip. They are a great source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These fats increase blood flow to the brain and improve antioxidant absorption. In addition, high folate content of avocados aids in brain and tissue development.
Guacamole is creamy in texture and very filling. Also, it gives your brain lots of the “good” fats. As a result, both your belly and your brain will feel sated. Of course, you can also eat guacamole on any salad or sandwich.
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