It’s bulking season – for your brain

As you may know, some foods are better for your brain than others. For example, tater tot casserole from Jennings is the epitome of “brain food.” Just kidding. Here are some actual foods that you might want to toss into your diet when possible to help the old noodle ace your midterms.

  1. Blueberries: Who doesn’t love bloobs? These little guys are super good for your brain, protecting it from degeneration, stress and toxins. They contain a ridiculous amount of antioxidants, which help protect you from environmental toxins and signs of aging and can even prevent some types of cancers. Blueberries are also good for your bones because they’re high in vitamin K and fibre.
  2. Coconut oil: Coined a “diverse superfood,” coconut oil can boost cognitive function and memory with its many anti-inflammatory properties, as well as helping with dry skin, eczema and stretch marks when applied topically.
  3. Broccoli: Not my personal favourite, but it is super healthy. Rich in vitamins K and C, choline, fibre and other good nutrients, broccoli helps you focus and feel full quickly while eating, plus it contributes to memory function. Yum!
  4. Rosemary: The antioxidant carnosic acid protects you from free radicals – atoms with unpaired electrons that cause damage to tissues as a result of oxidative stress – that lead to neurodegeneration, helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Rosemary can also protect you from stroke and macular degeneration (vision loss).
  5. Dark chocolate: Who knew something so delicious could also be good for you?! Dark chocolate containing 70 per cent cocoa or more improves all-around cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain. It is also rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant flavonols.
  6. Beets: These wonderful veggies are high in antioxidants that help the liver detoxify blood and can even help prevent cancer. They also are high in nitrates, which increase blood flow to the brain, helping you think clearly and focus for longer periods of time. Beets are also great for athletes because they increase energy levels and improve athletic performance.
  7. Walnuts: This healthy snack can increase concentration, alertness and memory because of its abundance of minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Studies of people who regularly include walnuts in their diet suggest that they might decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
  8. Avocado: Really? Who would have guessed? This superfood is rich in monounsaturated fats (the “healthy” fat). These help your nails, skin and hair to look healthy and keep your blood sugar at a good level. Avocados are also high in vitamin K and folate, which improve concentration and memory cognitive functions. If you’re feeling millennial, try some mashed avocado on a piece of toast for a healthy snack.
  9. Salmon: This yummy fish is super high in omega-3 fatty acids, which boost your brain function to help you concentrate and enhance your memory. Some research even suggests that diets incorporating fish can reduce the risk of certain cancers and ADHD in children.
  10. Turmeric: The compound curcumin lends strong healing and anti-inflammatory properties to this spice. Turmeric has a long history of being used to help heal wounds and illnesses, and its more common modern use as a food seasoning can help your immune system and increase the oxygen intake to the brain, increasing your focus and alertness.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to email me at healthintern@mta.ca or contact the Wellness Centre at wellness@mta.ca. Flu shots will be available during the Wellness Centre’s flu clinic from Oct. 29 to Nov. 5, so make sure to protect yourself from this nasty virus and book your appointment now! Have a happy and healthy week.

Rachel McDougall
Rachel McDougall is a contributor to the Argosy.