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Natural Brain Boosters

As winter moves on, our bodies and mood feel zapped and our brains may struggle to keep up. Spending more time outdoors and taking care of our brain and it’s functions can shed the dreariness of winter away.  Our brain can benefit from brain boosting foods, herbs, and supplements, as well as, boost our memory, improve mental alertness, and protect it against free radicals. 

A healthy diet and regular exercise are an important first step to supporting brain health, a diet rich in vegetables and healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, avocados, almond milk, olives, nuts, and seeds play an important role in your brain functioning at its best. Vegetables such as leafy greens, collards, spinach, kale, mushrooms, cauliflower, radishes, garlic, parsley, and artichokes are good choices for “brain food.”

The book, “Grain Brain” by neurologist David Perlmutter M.D. outlines how unhealthy carbs, sugars, and wheat can damage the brain and prevent it from getting the nutrients it needs.  Avoiding foods like wheat, barley, bulgur, couscous, semolina, foods containing sugar can “eliminate brain fog symptoms, improve memory and energy levels” according to Perlmutter.  

The brain is 60 percent fat and requires healthy fats to reduce inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in salmon, walnuts, and flax seed have been shown to reduce inflammation and boost memory.  Antioxidants found in green tea can rid the brain and body of free radicals.  The antioxidant, lycopene found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava, and pink grapefruit has been shown to boost memory as well.  

Herbs and supplements can also boost brain health.  Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and brain-protectant properties.  Ginkgo can increase oxygen to brain cells, boost memory, and support mental clarity.  The antioxidant alpha lipoic acid, B complex vitamins, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E are all crucial for supporting normal brain function and some eliminate free radicals.

Finally, getting a full eight hours of sleep every night can improve the brain’s ability to think creatively, help the brain to store memories, and leave you feeling mental clear and refreshed for the following day.