It is easy to forget, with our busy lifestyles, the basic guidelines for healthy eating. A lot of the time, we are so busy that we don’t even manage to consume the 3 important square meals a day. However, there are certain foods that are considered to be ‘brain foods’ and can really help with the overall function of your brain and are really easy to fit in with even the busiest of lifestyles.
Here is a list of 8 super foods that are proven to help with memory, focus and keeping you feeling more energized throughout the day- which we can all admit, would be very helpful!
Being high in fiber, protein, unsaturated fats and a huge array of minerals and vitamins, eating a handful of nuts each day, may well keep the doctor away! Each type of nut offers a huge variety of nutrients. For example, Walnuts contain a high amount of alpha-linolenic acids, which is essential for our brain in keeping it healthy and active, as it is one of the three Omega-3 fatty acids that we need. Another example would be Cashew nuts. Cashews are high in iron, zinc, and magnesium, which is linked to helping the improvement of memory loss and memory related diseases.
Avocados are a heavily packed food, containing an incredible amount of nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D, E, K and all B vitamins, along with potassium and fiber. And if that isn’t enough, Avocados also are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, also known as Omega-3 fatty acids. With Avocados containing so much goodness, they help with a wide range of things such as keeping your heart and brain healthy and reducing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Beets have been proven to increase blood flow to the brain. Not only that, they are also high in minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin C, folate, fiber, manganese, and potassium. They convert nitric oxide in your body which can improve your overall mental performance and brain function greatly because it helps you to relax and dilates the blood vessels in your brain, ultimately lowering your blood pressure.
It may be known to you that eating fish that is high in fatty acids is one of the best sources of protein and other nutrients which are essential for your brain and body. It is even more important that we eat foods like salmon because our body simply does not make the essential fatty acids we need. Salmon, along with trout, mackerel and sardines also contain high levels of EFAs and DHAs, which DHAs improve memory loss and can reduce the risk of memory related diseases.
5. Dark Chocolate
For all you dark chocolate lovers out there, it is proven that dark chocolate has the most brain health benefits out of all chocolates. Chocolate is used widely as a comfort food, but realistically chocolate does actually make you feel a lot happier because of its high levels of tryptophan, which is a neurotransmitter of feeling happy. The flavonoids in dark chocolate improve blood flow to the brain which in turn, increases your reaction time, your attention span, your overall memory and your problem-solving skills. That isn’t all, dark chocolate also releases endorphins into our brain, which reduces stress levels and pain.
Since we were children, it is always hammered into us that eating greens is important. But eating greens really has never been more important than for your overall brain health. Broccoli helps strengthen your cognitive brain functions and improve your memory because it is rich in Vitamin K and choline. It also contains a high amount of folic acid, which helps fight off depression and keeps you feeling happy. Not only that, the folic acid aids in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, broccoli benefits our most basic functions such as reasoning, thinking, remembering, imagining and learning, because of its high levels of lignans.
7. Whole Grains
There are a huge variety of whole grains such as pasta, whole grain bread, brown rice, and oats. Whole grains are low glycemic foods which will keep your blood sugar stable for a lot longer than when you eat refined or white grains. This is why whole grains are considered to contain magical energy for the brain. Whole grains also alter your glucose levels slightly and will slowly supply glucose to the brain and body over time, helping you concentrate for longer and stay focused more, throughout the day.
You might be relieved to know that many studies show that eating blueberries can help slow the aging process and age-related diseases! According to another study, from Tufts University, blueberries, if eaten regularly can also help with short-term memory loss. These magic berries can also help your motor functions and improve your learning abilities.
These chocolates are from Japan but are also available in Korea, China, Thailand, and Taiwan. Sadly, they do not ship to the U.S. and the only way to purchase them is at the annual New York Chocolate Show. Each of these beautifully hand-decorated truffles is made with ganache which contains Japenese plum Liqueur (Umeshu). However, the liqueur is actually made from unripe apricots that are soaked in sugar and shochu, which is a semi-strong distilled Japenese spirit.
Havana Tobacco Chocolate
Although it is illegal to bring these chocolates into the U.S., they originate from Burges and Antwerp in Belgium but are also available in upscale restaurants in Germany, Holland and other areas in Belgium. A self-proclaimed shock-o-latier Dominique Persoone crafts around 60 bizarre varieties of truffles, but his most illicit have got to be the Havana. It is so illicit because it is crafted with real cigar leaves which are marinated in rum and cognac. The flavor leaves a very peppery feeling in your throat, simulating the sensation of actually smoking a cigar.
Pig’s Blood Chocolate
A chocolate shop in Portland, Oregon, took inspiration from blood sausage, which is popular in Western Europe and Asia. The owner, who is a former sous chef, only makes this ‘special’ chocolate for holidays such as Halloween and Valentine’s Day. This bizarre creation is made with cinnamon, smoked Spanish paprika, and blood. It is then enrobed in Felchlin 72 percent Ecuadoran chocolate and dusted with more paprika. It is no surprise that this chocolate is one of the least popular flavors available at the chocolate shop, but nonetheless, it still receives special orders.
Cucumber Vodka Chocolate
Well, this is one way to get in your ‘5-A-Day’. This exotic, handmade truffle is crafted with traditional French methods. The boldly flavored white chocolate ganache is infused with cucumber purée, mint, and vodka. It is then covered in dark chocolate and leaves a slight tingle on the tongue, because of the alcohol. This chocolate is only available for six months out of the year starting from April because fresh ingredients are insisted by L’Artisan du Chocolat.
For all those who like to party hard, Absinthe Chocolate is available in New York, in a shop on the Lower East Side. This chocolate which was once an underground experiment, flourished into a product that people buy and enjoy, after the absinthe ban in the U.S. was lifted. This interesting chocolate consists of a Callebaut bittersweet chocolate ganache with pear, anise seed, fennel, and commercially brewed absinthe.
Shiitake Mushroom Chocolate
This ganache contains dried mushrooms and earthy Peruvian dark chocolate. It is hand dipped in 70 percent Colombian chocolate. Shiitake is from Asian cuisine for umami. It usually has a savory taste but in this chocolate, it lends a subtle, warm flavor. The truffles are created with a personal and direct touch due to Fair Trade certification being expensive for small farmers. This ensures that the cacao is improved and the farmers earn a fair wage. The truffles are available in the Midwest or online.
French Toast Chocolate
Inspired by today’s comfort foods such as tortilla, chips, french toast and ramen, Komforte Chockolates created French Toast Chocolate. It contains a wide variety of ingredients which gives it, its butter flavor- 33 percent milk chocolate, cinnamon, bagel chips, nutmeg, and molasses. It is considered a specialty chocolate and is available in specialty store across the country and online.
Gouda Cheese Chocolate
For all you cheese and chocolate lovers, Japan has found a way to formulate both into a Gouda Cheese Chocolate bar! Bizarre kinds of chocolate are something Japan is known for, they are a big hit with tourists, becoming popular souvenirs over the years. Soy sauce is one of the favorites for chocolate in Japan. However, one of the most difficult flavors to find is the European Cheese. This chocolate contains 58 percent Gouda by weight, which leaves a salty, smoky and sour taste.
Camel’s Milk Chocolate
This chocolate was created by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and Al Nassma is the only company which produces the camel’s milk chocolate. Camel’s milk chocolate is literally considered to be “liquid gold” in the Middle east because the milk has 3 times the amount of Vitamin C than cow’s milk. It’s also considered to be “liquid gold” because of how difficult the milk is to obtain, as camels make a fraction of the amount of milk that cows do. Its flavor is quite malted and minerally. It is available in selected countries- UAE, Oman, Japan, and online.