If you’ve been feeling a little like you’re living in a fog lately or you would like to give your memory a boost, you may want to improve your diet with some select brain foods. Try this one-day meal plan to get started.
There’s no doubt about it — food is medicine. When you’re looking for an energy pick-me-up or need to prepare for a big day, choosing foods high in protein, fiber and nutrients can make all the difference. And when it comes to feeding your brain, foods high in antioxidants, omega-3s, vitamin E and monosaturated fats will help improve your memory, decrease your blood pressure and sharpen your mentality.
Breakfast: Wake Up Your Day with Oatmeal
Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. It revs up your metabolism, perks up your mood and can improve your brain’s overall performance. Oatmeal is an ideal brain food and will keep you feeling full for several hours. The carbohydrates in the oats create glucose — your brain’s main fuel — and fiber will help regulate your blood sugar and keep the levels steady.
And, oatmeal is easy to change up throughout the week with some additional brain-healthy toppings. Add a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds or berries — chock full of antioxidants, folate and vitamins C and K — or add a slice of Swiss cheese, sautéed spinach and an egg sunny side up for a dose of “good” cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acid DHA, antioxidants and calcium.
Midmorning Snack: A Handful of Blueberries Goes a Long Way
Snacking two to three times a day can not only help stave off hunger and increase your metabolism, it can also keep your blood sugar from dipping, which may lessen your brain functioning. Just make sure you snack smart by selecting fruits, vegetables, nuts or high-protein foods.
A handful of juicy, sweet blueberries are ideal for snacking and are packed with antioxidants and flavonoids which have been linked to improving spatial memory. Aim for about a cup of fresh berries or sprinkle them on yogurt and cereal or add some to a smoothie.
Lunch: Energize Your Lunch with a Leafy Green Salad
Your midday break is not only important for re-energizing and replenishing your body — it’s good for your brain!
Start your lunch hour with several deep breaths to instantly lower any stress in your body — your brain interprets it as a signal to calm down — and then enjoy each crunchy bite of a leafy green salad topped with veggies of your choice, shredded cheese and a handful of walnuts.
Leafy greens, like spinach or kale, are loaded with vitamin K, which can improve your ability to absorb and remember verbal instructions. Adding vitamin B12 found in cheese, as well as carotenoids found in bright red and orange vegetables, can improve cognition and memory, and walnuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids.
Drizzle your salad with olive oil for an additional brain-healthy monosaturated fat kick!
Afternoon Snack: Cheers to Green Tea & Almond Butter Toast
Avoid the afternoon slump by fueling up with a teaspoon of almond butter spread over a slice of whole wheat toast or celery sticks and a steaming cup of green tea.
The high concentration of vitamin E in the nuts has been shown to help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment, and green tea’s amino acid L-theanine increases the neurotransmitter dopamine — a chemical responsible for “feel good” emotions. And when combined with caffeine, green tea has been shown to improve brain function.
Dinner: Super Easy Seared Salmon with Grilled Veggies
One of the best things about each day is unwinding at the end of it with family, friends or solo over a delicious dish. A classic dinnertime favorite, salmon is not only easy to make in about 30 minutes, but is rich in memory-improving DHA and omega-3s. And if you pile it on your plate twice a week, it can lower the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Watch Renown Chef Chris Wyatt prepare the dish. Recipe included!
Dessert: Delight in the Decadent with a Chunk of Dark Chocolate
Dinner just isn’t the same without its sweet counterpart, dessert. And this one is made even more delectable with its brain-boosting ingredients.
Bite into a chunk of dark chocolate or use a pure dark chocolate powder mixed with heated milk and relish in its antioxidants and phenylethylamine — a chemical that promotes alertness and contentment.
This is one treat that will leave you feeling good and it’s good for you. Just remember: Everything in moderation!