Summer is over, which means it is time for the brain to wake up and start working hard again, especially for children going back to school. It is vital that you eat the right foods to properly energize and nourish your brain. As soon as your brain is in need of energy, the area that feels it first is your frontal cortex, which is what handles all the complex aspects of your brain, leaving any residual energy to focus on maintaining vital life functions. That is why you start to feel confused or cannot concentrate once you run out of fuel for your brain.
Your brain uses 20 percent of the energy you consume, but it prefers its energy in the form of glucose. However, as much as the brain needs glucose, it reacts adversely to too high of glucose levels, which can manifest itself into diseases. By eating the right foods, your brain will function better, you can concentrate longer, and you can think creatively and more complexly. If you eat foods high in sugar and fat with minimal nutrition, then you end up with a super fast high amount of energy followed by a crash that happens just as quickly. Then, your brain becomes tired and foggy, making it really difficult the rest of the day.
Fatty Fish, Nuts and Seeds
The Omega-3 fatty acids, found in abundance in fatty fish like salmon, nuts and seeds, are necessary for optimum brain function. Around 40 percent of your brain cell tissue is made up of DHA, a fatty acid found in Omega-3. Studies have shown that having high levels of DHA in your system keeps your brain functioning, helps your memory and concentration, and even helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. If you do not like to eat fish, you can get plenty of omega-3s through nuts and seeds like walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseed.
Leafy Greens and Cruciferous Vegetables
Kale, spinach, broccoli, and other members of the leafy green and cruciferous vegetable groups are powerhouse foods. They have many antioxidants, including vitamin C and carotenoids, which have been shown to reduce the oxidation in the brain and other cells, fighting free radicals, especially as your brain is very vulnerable to these free radicals. They also are rich sources of vitamin K, which improves cognitive power.
Fruit and Berries
Berries, especially blueberries and strawberries, have antioxidants that protect your brain and neurons from any damage and boost your brain’s communication abilities, while also helping to get rid of any waste. Fruit also provides a quick energy source, without all the downside of candy and sugar, while being full of essential nutrients.
Whole grains, like rice, quinoa, and amaranth are essential for fueling the brain. They are complex carbohydrates, which will provide the brain with energy take longer to digest, meaning the fuel and energy last longer. Many of these grains also have other important vitamins for your brain, like the B-complex vitamins and antioxidants.
Chocolate is a great pick-me-up for your brain, as long as you opt for the healthier, dark chocolate variety. It has just a bit of caffeine, which boosts your brainpower. Most importantly, it is a rich source of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that has been shown to aid brain function. You can also find flavonoids in red grapes, tea, and apples.
Not strictly a food, water nonetheless needs to be on this list. You must be properly hydrated, or else you will find yourself getting tired and not functioning well. If your body is even just 1 percent dehydrated, you can start to show symptoms, which can include loss of concentration, poor cognitive ability, headaches, and more.
Through eating these healthy foods in place of any sugary, processed foods, you will find yourself having more energy all day long. Your brain can function better, allowing you to concentrate and think better. Children will be able to focus on their schoolwork, which will improve their grades. It is easy to find ways to incorporate these foods into every meal and snacks you and your family eat.