When asked how they boost memory and promote healthy brain function, most people will tell you that they get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, listen to certain types of music, or play games designed to give their brain a workout. Few people will tell you that they consider diet a key factor in brain health. But plenty of research shows that the foods we eat can have a role in sharpening our memories, increasing our concentration, preventing mental decline, and improving overall cognitive functioning. So, which foods are best for brain health then, and why? And, how to you incorporate them into healthy meals you make for school-age children?antioxidants to prevent certain types of damage within the body. When you’re cooking back-to-school meals, be sure to incorporate plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (in a wide variety of colors), whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts. These foods are natural sources of the nutrients necessary for a healthy brain.
If you’re not familiar with a particular food, or if you have a picky eater in your family, seek out new and creative ways to use healthy ingredients; vegetables can be more appealing when paired with fruit (think fruit salsa) and salty items like seeds and nuts can enhance both sweet and savory flavors in dishes. Try adding salty seeds or nuts to melted dark chocolate or creamy yogurt parfaits.
Looking for more healthy back-to-school ideas? We’ve got nine foods that are proven to promote brain function and a few creative ideas for incorporating them into your cooking routine.
Coconut oil, which is found in the meat of the coconut, is being studied as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Try using coconut oil in your baking or add fresh coconut meat to breakfast smoothies.
Dark berries are good for the brain and improve memory, learning, and cognitive function. Add fresh blueberries to cereal in the morning or cook them down in a pan to make a sweet glaze for grilled chicken.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.
This article was originally published September 5, 2014