Especially around the Christmas season, it seems as though there’s a hundred things to remember and to plan for. Because of all the business and temptations of sugary treats around, it can also mean our health takes a bit of a back seat. If you’re a vegan too, it can be difficult to know exactly what will benefit your brain other than eggs or fish, which are often recommended. So, to make sure you’re still getting lots of lovely nutritious foods and boosting your brain power so you can remember all of those things on your to-do list this holiday, take a look at this list of vegan brain foods!
While veganism is linked to a wide range of health benefits, including lowering risks of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, it is important to ensure we’re still able to consume and absorb all the necessary nutrients we need to support a healthy mind and body.
While carbohydrates, sugar, wheat and grains in general have been linked to the onset of Parkinsons disease and less severe but none-the-less concerning poor brain function, it is often grains and sugar that we turn to when confused about what our bodies need.
Fat and cholesterol are two words that most people will have been avised to stay well away from. But there are different kinds of fats and cholesterol, and 60 per cent of the brain actually consists of fats, it is important to know the good and bad types of fat, cholesterol, and other brain enhancing foods.
(Yes, there is such a thing….)
While all nuts are found to be very beneficial for us, containing important protein, antioxidants, vitamins, mierals and omega-3 fatty acidsThe doctrine of signatures (a fascinating pre-modern system which has discovered that plants which grow to look like a certain part of our bodies are actually very beneficial to that which they resemble) confirms that the Walnut is brilliant for brain health.
Containing essential omega-3 fatty acids, which help make up the grey matter – the part of your brain responsible for cognitive function, and also helps with vision!
Avocado is another source of good fats. The fatty acids in avocados – known as oleic acids – helps to build up myelin, or the ‘grey matter’ of the brain. Higher levels of this grey matter in the brain are linked to the ability for our brains to process information quicker. Likewise, low levels of these essential fats lead to poorer cognitive performance. So make sure you’re consuming these very healthy fats to ensure your grey matter is well cared for.
Helps to improve the workings of the cerebral cortex of the brain – which processes sensory information such as taste and touch
Almonds: Nuts have been well researched to lower the risk of heart disease and lower the levels of ‘bad cholesterol’. Almonds also include essential nutrients which boost brain activity, and their healthy fats help to protect cell walls.
As most of us know, blueberries are extremely high in antioxidants – essential for our health as they combat free radicals which tend to damage cell walls and DNA. Blueberries have been found to improve memory and general brain function. A very healthy addition to any diet, blueberries are best consumed raw. Other dark berries like blackberries (which are very high in vitamin C, also proven to improve mental agility), as well as pure, organic pomegranate juice, also contain very high levels of antioxidants.
Referring back to the ‘doctrine of signatures’ once again, we notice that red grapes most closely resemble red blood cells, and they have actually been found to be very good at keeping our blood flow healthy. They are brilliant for improving blood circulation, which keeps the brain well oxygenated and fullof nutrients. Red grapes also help to raise good cholesterol levels, and lower bad cholesterol!
It’s quite likely that you’ve been advised to eat a banana before an exam…. But why?
The potassium in bananas can help to increase alertness, and the B vitamins it contains help to calm the nervous system – which is pretty much perfect preparation for any test!
If you’re not a banana fan, consider getting your potassium from kiwi fruits – less filling and very close to bananas in the amount of potassium per 100g!
Technically a fruit, but we’ll just put them in the vegetable category for now….
The powerful antioxidant lycopene helps to protect cells from free radicals, and because of this is particularly effective in warding off dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The natural nitrates in beetroot increases blood flow to the brain
Green leafy vegetables (like spinach or kale) and cruciferous veggies (like broccoli or cauliflower): have been proven to slow the rate of cognitive decline
The compounds in sage help to prevent the breakdown of neurotransmitters in the brain, which are responsible for learning and memory
Just the scent of Rosemary can boost memory by up to 75%! Rosemary also reduces levels of cortisol in the body (the stress hormone), helping lead to lower levels of anxiety
Move over blueberries…. Oregano has four times the amount of antioxidants as the super fruit. The antioxidising effects help to keep blood circulating healthily around the body and brain.
These are just a few tips on how to boost your brain power with the foods you’re likely to have at home already. Share your own memory boosting power foods to the comments section below!