Walnuts with leaf isolated on a white background.

Nathalie Simon, writer and editor, has shared her article on foods that help the brain and also addictions with us this week.

Eating healthy is a priority for many people nowadays. Commercially prepared foods are often high in fat, refined sugar and salt, while convenient food contains artificial flavourings and preservatives. This article aims to give you more control over what you create in your kitchen and help you explore the benefits of some incredible super foods.

The medical and holistic communities have come a long way in recent times when referring to the impact of specific foods upon our bodies. While proper dieting is often stressed in order to lose weight and maintain low levels of cholesterol, we also need to remember that there are many brain-friendly foods which are able to boost our mood, help us relax and even address emotional ailments. Including those types of foods in your daily meal can definitely help you lead a healthy lifestyle.

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“Brain Food”: Myth or Reality?

In the past, some scientists had debated whether or not foods were truly able to impact our mood and emotions. They cited the psychosomatic syndrome; a scenario when belief results in a positive outcome. You might be more familiar with the term “placebo effect” in this respect. So, are brain foods hype or here to stay?

The answer to this question involves a bit of science. There are certain foods which have be found to contain high levels of specific chemicals related to brain function. Perhaps the most common example is a substance known as tryptophan. Found in meats such as turkey, tryptophan can lead to drowsiness.

However, other chemicals such as omega-3 fatty acids and the flavonoids within green tea have been shown to boost levels of concentration while simultaneously relieving high levels of anxiety. Some additional brain-friendly foods include (but are not limited to):
Broccoli, walnuts, avocado, turmeric, dark chocolate and blueberries

It is also important to mention the potency associated with full-spectrum hemp oil. As this organic liquid contains a host of beneficial fatty acids alongside plant-based substances known as phytonutrients, it is excellent for boosting mental acuity, relieving anxiety and dealing with chronic pain.

The Surprising Role in Addiction Recovery

Many individuals suffer from some form of an addiction. One of the main issues associated with an addiction (particularly with a chemical substance such as alcohol or nicotine) is that brain cells (neurons) can become damaged over time. Scientists and doctors believed that that this would result in an irreversible loss of these cells.

The good news is that the brain is much more “plastic” than initially thought. In other words, new cells are able to form if they are provided with the right developmental environment. This is why foods that are able to deliver more blood and nutrients to the brain are thought to aid in the recovery process. Some examples are:

  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Flax Oil
  • Certain types of fish which contain omega fatty acids
  • Dark fruits such as blackberries and blueberries
  • Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits

Whether you are recovering from an addiction or you simply wish to improve your mood and boost your brain power, eating healthy is certainly part of the overall equation.

There is nothing better than controlling what goes into your meal plus the freedom to exercise your creativity in the kitchen. Cooking is something we should all experience, so all you need to do is get in the kitchen, make delicious meals and beautiful memories with the help of those “brain-friendly” foods.