The formula that improves brain health is the same as that for the body. There is nothing more basic and simple than feeding on whole grains, green leafy vegetables and fruits.
Whole Grain Foods
Truly, not very many foods do compare with a hearty whole grain bread by Liesbeth Smit. Besides the unsaturated fats, this bread is loaded with good carbohydrates, protein and fiber from 4 different types of whole grain flour: buckwheat, barley, rye and wheat; 3 types of seeds: flax seeds, sunflower, pumpkin and 2 other ingredients like rolled oats and wheat bran.
Since there are no hard and fast rules in making this bread, why not replace familiar grains with some ancient heritage ones for novelty and variety in your diet at the same time?
For example, the most nutritious fonio grain is rich in important amino acids not found in wheat, and can help synthesize protein. Moreover, its low sugar content makes it an ideal food for people with diabetes.
On the other hand, sorghum is very much like wheat; and can be baked into breads. It contains mostly carbohydrates and some protein but has more vitamin B than maize.
Then there is teff with many nutritional feathers in its cap: high mineral content, complete food in essential amino acids, and a great source of carbohydrates and fiber.
Green Leafy Vegetables
In general, all vegetables and fruits have flavonoids and carotenoids which are highly efficient antioxidants. Dark green leafy vegetables, for example, are good sources of vitamin E, and folate that helps break down an amino acid responsible for brain shrinkage. Leafy greens also contain essential amino acids and are a great source of vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function and improves brainpower.
Notably,villagers living in remote Asian regions live off wild leafy vegetables and are none the worse for it. For instance, Shiri villagers of Cheju Island, South Korea gather 24 species of wild leafy vegetables daily for food; while those in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh, India, are kept alive by 79 species of uncultivated leafy greens.
It is clear the Asian urban menu is inextricable from leafy greens. For example, leafy green savories include Thull’s morogo leaf pie and Chuang Shu Chih’s spinach pancake, the Aubuchon family’s baked mushroom grits with Chinese spinach and Malcolm Riley’s young pumpkin leaves in ground peanut.
Further, leafy greens paired with noodles have remained the same all these years: wonton noodle soup with flowering Chinese cabbage and flat flour ban mian noodle with shredded potato leaves. Besides, Madame Lee-Chen’s penchant for using blanched greens like Tientsin cabbage leaves, mustard leaves, and stalks of flowering white cabbage leaves as garnish shows a connection between food choices and health.
However, the only recipe for leafy greens from Helen Clucas’ visit to rural China is white cabbage seasoned with ginger. This may be due to the fact that leafy greens are rarely served to guests.
Fruits: Avocado and Safou
As it is, the natural sugars of fruits can stimulate your brain. For instance, avocados improve blood and oxygen flow to your brain, suggests a website of the Villanova University. In addition, healthy unsaturated fats in avocados help keep your brain cell membranes flexible, according to Kansas State University. Lastly, as a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E, this fruit can lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s, as research by Morris, suggests.
Nevertheless, the avocado has found a new competitor in safou or butterfruit, a tropical African forest fruit, which is a combination of avocado proteins, and the vitamins and minerals of an olive. It protects your brain with abundant powerful antioxidants like Vitamins A and C from damage by free radicals. More importantly, its store of magnesium boosts the functions of the nerves and enhances brain health.
Thus, there is no mystery surrounding the best brain foods; in fact, the lack of it, makes you think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.