Did you know certain foods have been linked to better brain power? Research has shown your diet plays a role in brain development, memory, learning, planning, concentration, logic, and judgement. With kids headed back to school (whatever that looks like for your family), it’s important to focus on quality foods to help them perform their best. Most of these foods also help keep blood sugar and energy steady, which helps promote focus.
Leafy greens and green vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli, contain vitamin K, lutein, and folate, which may help slow cognitive decline. Lutein supports eye health, too, which has become more important with increased virtual working and learning.
Fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon, and sardines, contain omega 3-fatty acids to support overall brain health. EPA and DHA have also been linked to brain development in children. Try including fatty fish two to three times per week to hit your recommended dose of omega-3s. Bonus: omega 3-fatty acids also support heart health!
Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries contain flavonoids, a natural plant pigment that gives them their brilliant colors. These flavonoids have been shown to help improve memory. To get the most out of fresh berries, wash them just before eating, not any sooner.
Nuts are rich in protein and healthy fats, which help keep you full and focused, but walnuts have been linked to improved memory function. Walnuts make great snacks for virtual learners who may need to eat while sitting at a computer.
Eggs contain choline and lutein, nutrients that are important for brain development, memory, and life-long learning. Choline has been shown to play a role in early brain development used for memory and learning. Don’t have time to make breakfast every morning? Egg sandwiches, burritos, and muffins can be prepped ahead and frozen. Simply reheat in the microwave and enjoy!
Research has linked consuming one avocado per day to improved brain health. Along with brain-promoting lutein, avocados also contain fiber, folate, vitamin E and potassium. Add sliced avocados to toast, sandwiches, salads, tacos, or toss them in smoothies for an extra creamy treat.
The take-home message: a well-balanced diet helps kids and adults perform better and promotes life-long learning. Focus on a wide variety of foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, and fat at each meal and snack to stay full and focused.