Summer is here which means you’re more inclined to take advantage of the summer sun and weather, rather than being in the kitchen. Since you’d likely prefer to keep your energy high, your moods steady and your brain sharp and clear, I thought I’d share some food options for meals that are healthy, delicious and quick to make. And, as a side benefit, they also support your brain’s health.
Start by choosing foods that help keep your gut healthy
What? You thought I said I was talking about “brain foods” not “gut foods”! But wait – let me tell you how they are both the same! With all of the emerging research on how critical the gut microbiome is to brain health – and vice-versa – it is even more important than ever that you choose foods that make a positive contribution to your microbiome. Science is telling us that your gut microbiome (the trillions of good and bad bacteria found in your gut) needs to be healthy and balanced. If it isn’t healthy, your gut will not absorb key nutrients that their brain needs to be balanced and productive. For example, an unbalanced gut microbiome can alter the overall neurotransmitter production for you. What does that mean? Your gut microbiome can actually affect your mood, feelings, and behaviors! A healthy gut may actually help you better deal with stress as well. The gut chemically supports the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus. So your memory function may even be better. An unhealthy gut can also allow more toxins to be absorbed into your body. Brain fog and anxiety, along with a lot of inflammation, can result. You certainly don’t want this for you or for your family.
Tips & Foods that support a strong microbiome
So what can you do that supports your microbiome? Here are some ideas.
1. Reduce the carbs
The most important thing to maintaining your healthy microbiome is to reduce “fast” carbohydrate foods. These are the carbohydrates that quickly convert to sugar. Instead choose “slow” carbs, like those from from vegetables and low sugar fruits. Remember to think of fast carbs as a toxin for the brain – because that’s what they are! They’ve been shown to cause brain cells to become resistant to insulin, the hormone that escorts sugar from your blood into your cells and gives you energy. Salads are a great option, especially if you add in some healthy fats, like an avocado?
2. Focus on adding fermented foods/natural probiotics
Fermented foods are an excellent natural source of probiotics. There are a lot of good fermented foods that you can serve. Sauerkraut is one fermented food you can easily purchase or make yourself at home. If you find that you need specific probiotics, you can add those in as you make your fermented foods.
3. Add prebiotics
Prebiotic foods are those foods that you eat that your healthy gut bacteria like to eat as well! Some examples include green bananas, cold cooked potatoes, as well as beets, cabbage, lentils, beans, onions, and garlic.
4. Pile on the healthy Omega-3s and antioxidants!
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain growth and function. Research has shown that people who get more fatty acids in their diet have sharper minds! Ensure you find a way to add omega-3-rich foods to your meals, including sea veggies, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and more. Focus on incorporating some of the top green omega 3 foods, such as kale, spinach, watercress, and brussel sprouts into your meals as well.
Watch the video below to learn to make Coconut Rainbow “Rice” and Decadently Delicious Coconut Squares
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