We all want to be smarter, sharper, more focussed and it’s relatively easy to do that with simple food and lifestyle changes you can start today.
Our brain is our most precious asset. It’s a powerhouse that controls everything in our body from moods, to cravings, to digestion to movement.
Get your Omega 3’s
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve most likely heard about Omega 3’s lately. And for good reason. They are called ESSENTIAL Fatty Acids because we can only get them from external sources (essential in this context means we don’t produce them within our own bodies). Omega oils are actually not just the 3’s, but 6 and 9 as well. The numbers represent how many fatty acid “chains” they have, or, how complex they are. Omega 6 is also very important, but it can easily convert into not so good for you inflammatory substances called prostaglandins so you want to ensure you’re balancing out the 6’s with the 3’s.
Ok, that’s great Krisha, but what foods have Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s? So glad you asked!
Omega 3’s are mostly found in fish (think SMASH – fish sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon, herring), chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts (ever notice how a walnut looks like a brain?), and hemp seeds (they are the perfect balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3). Even grass fed beef has omega 3’s, and veggies like spinach, green beans, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Fish oil is also a fantastic source of your Omega 3’s. For more detailed explanation of Omega 3’s and how they promote health, check out this resource.
Omega 6’s are mostly found in plant foods. WARNING: You can also find high levels of Omega 6 in vegetable oils and margarines BUT this is why all that well-intentioned but horrible advice to eat margarine and veg oil for heart health is actually bad for you. Too much Omega 6 can convert into that inflammatory prostaglandin I referenced above and if you haven’t heard, it’s inflammation, not cholesterol, that causes hardening of the arteries. If you’re eating margarine, please switch to organic butter, if you’re using vegetable oil, please switch to olive oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil.
But I’m VEGAN! How do I get my fish on?
I’m not going to lie, this is a tough one. While there are plant sources of the Omega 3 (plant based Omega 3 is called ALA), the body is not very good at converting ALA to EPA & DHA. Just bear in mind that EPA & DHA are what Omega 3’s break down into and are the actual working parts of Omega 3. If you are vegan get an algae based “fish oil” to ensure you’re getting enough EPA & DHA in your diet.
Eat FAT! – I know, some of you may be cringing at this.
You may be caught up in the low fat mentality. And that’s OK, it’s not your fault. You’ve been programmed by smart advertisers that this is the way to lose weight. But the truth is that you need fat for your brain to function, you need fat to lose weight and you need fat for healthy skin. Your brain and nervous system is FAT.
Healthy fat looks like this: avocado, nuts and seeds, nut butter, fish as mentioned above, oils as mentioned above.
But what about the CALORIES????
Yes, fat has more calories than carbs or protein, but the body knows what to do with healthy fats. We need them, that’s why fat is one of the three macronutrients we NEED every day. I do not count how much food I eat every day. If I want to eat 2 avocados sometimes I do. I don’t eat 2 avocados every day, so it all balances out. And besides, the whole notion of calories in and calories out has been squashed by experts. It simply does not add up, so you’re welcome – I give you permission to toss that shit out the window now.
Did you know that Adding avocado to your salad helps to enhance the absorption of nutrients in salad greens?
Greens, Greens, Greens – Eat greens, rinse, wash, repeat. Eat greens, rinse, wash, repeat.
Spinach, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, romaine lettuce, even the greens from the tops of root veg like beet greens!
They’re super Anti-inflammatory – inflammation in the body can include inflammation in the brain. Depression, anxiety and other nervous system issues can occur. You want to keep that flame burning low. Inflammation is not the kind of fire you want in your body.
Here’s another nasty word:
CARBS – EGADS. How dare you suggest I eat grains.
Well, here’s the thing. When you omit carbs, you’re depriving your body of a source of fuel. And since the brain relies on glucose for fuel and to function, it’s something you need to include in your diet.
Carbs are broken down into two parts: good carbs and bad carbs.
Good carbs: whole grains like brown rice, steel cut oats, quinoa, beans and lentils. And of course – VEGGIES!!!!!
Bad carbs – bagels, chips, white stuff like white pasta, white rice.
Now, the only issue is 3/4 of the world eats white rice, so it’s kinda hard for me to tell a nation of billions of people to stop eating white rice. But what I can do is say make sure you’re pairing your white rice with fat and protein. This tip will helps to slow down the release of the “sugar” into your blood stream. This slowing down process equals better brain health because it provides you with sustained energy versus a quick jolt and then a crash.
So, you can basically sum this all up in one sentence:
Eat all foods, all the time, in moderation.
Kinda like what Michael Pollan says: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Thanks Michael – that makes complete sense! <3
Get your hands on my FREE guide that teaches you how to eat food, not too much, mostly plants in a fun and irreverent way. Get it before it’s gone.
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