Most of us tend to focus on maintaining our fitness and our weight, but we don’t always give a lot of thought to maintaining a healthy brain. One of the best ways to maintain brain health is through the right dietary habits.
The brain healthy diet will help boost your mood while reducing your stress; improving your energy and concentration, while helping you relax; balancing your hormones while reducing your risk of dementia, early Alzheimer’s and other diseases.
8 components of a brain healthy diet
1. Avoid refined carbohydrates
Eliminate all processed sugars and starches in your diet. This includes: Sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, white bread, white flour, process cereals and fruit juice (even all-natural fruit juice can be high in sugar). These cause blood sugar and insulin spikes which destabilize brain chemistry and damage brain cell metabolism.
2. Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption.
Yeah, you didn’t want to hear about this one, but alcohol can damage brain cells. Both caffeine and alcohol can increase insomnia and anxiety.
3. Consume animal protein
Protein is important in every diet, but animal protein is superior to plant proteins. Further, plant proteins contain “anti-nutrients.” They can rob the body and brain of essential nutrients and minerals.
If you must stick to a vegetarian diet, then use supplements to ensure you are getting the nutrients the brain needs such as: Iron, zinc, EPA, DHA, vitamin K 2, and the B vitamins. Getting enough iron in your diet is essential to brain health.
4. Avoid refined vegetable oils
Avoid seed oils such as: Soybean, safflower, and corn oil as industrial production makes these high in omega-6 fatty acids which increase inflammation. Instead, use oils such as: Olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil. Even lard, schmaltz or beef tallow are healthier fat choices for oils for brain health.
5. Eat whole foods
Eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, poultry, eggs, red meat and seafood. Avoid all processed foods.
6. Avoid legumes
Avoid legumes such as beans, peas, lentils, hummus, soy, etc. These are low in nutrients overall. But the bigger concern is that these are high in “anti-nutrients” that rob the body of essential minerals and nutrients.
7. Avoid grains
Avoid grains such as wheat, corn, rice, oats, etc. These are high in “anti-nutrients” that rob the body of essential minerals and nutrients.
8. Drink water
Avoid drinking sweetened beverages. Drink water. If you must drink flavored beverages, choose unsweetened and naturally flavored water or seltzer. Unsweetened, natural juices can still contain high sugar content. If you must drink coffee or tea, drink them unsweetened and limit your intake to avoid excessive caffeine consumption.