Have the endless lockdowns made you feel a bit sluggish and a bit fuzzy? You’re not alone. Living with chronic stress and anxiety over the past two years has had a profound affect on our brain function.
“In terms of executive function skills, your brain is having a lot more difficulty accessing your prefrontal cortex, which is particularly important when we’re trying to make decisions,” neuroscientist Lila Landowski of the University of Tasmania told the ABC recently.
The solution? Well, according to nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin it’s time to start consuming foods that assist with brain function. STAT. “The brain is a very energy hungry organ,” she explains. “Adequate nutrition is necessary for cognitive function including concentration, memory and attainment of information and overall brain health.”
So, get your shopping list ready (if you can handle the trauma of online shopping these days…) and stock up on these tasty morsels. Bingley-Pullin recommends the following six foods to boost your brainpower and overall health.
Having been declared legal in Australia recently, hemp seeds are a great plant-based source of essential fats (calling all vegans!). The brain is about 60-70% fat and essential fats are critical for the proper functioning of the chemical messengers, controlling mood and emotions. Essential fats also help protect the brain against inflammation.
Famous for its rich, golden colour, Turmeric also has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. So it’s a great addition to your diet for protecting the brain and supporting a healthy mood. To get the most benefit, make sure to take turmeric alongside a source of fat, such as extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of black better to increase its absorption.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVO)
Adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to be protective against brain health, specifically, a reduction brain atrophy. Considering that EVO makes up a large part of this diet and also offers a dose of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, it’s the perfect addition when seeking to look after your brain health.
Nuts such as pistachios, brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts all offer a source of antioxidants, protein and healthy fats which are associated with reduced inflammation and slowing down age-related brain decline.
Not only a good source of monounsaturated fats, avos also contain Vitamin E. The brain is very vulnerable to oxidative stress and vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in the body; it’s also known to improve neuron survival, which in turn helps to protect against neurodegeneration.
Our favourite berries are a source flavonoids, which exert an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect in the body. A recent study, for example, showed daily consumption of concentrated blueberry juice specifically has been shown to improve cognitive function, blood flow to the brain and working memory.