A bowl full of healthy, leafy greens. Image by Kaboompics.
Organic food has been all the rage for a long time now, but what’s the big deal besides the lack of harmful pesticides? While organic food isn’t necessarily healthier than more traditionally grown varieties, certain fruits and veggies, such as tomatoes, can have higher levels of antioxidants than others.
And animals that are allowed more time to graze on grass on free-range farms produce more of a fatty acid that’s good for human heart health. Organically raised animals are also not given antibiotics, which can help humans maintain strong immune systems.
Check out these eight organic foods that can give you another boost: better memory and brain power.
Fish and Walnuts
It’s a weird combo, but you don’t have to eat them at the same time to get the benefits. Fish and walnuts both contain omega-3 fatty acids, which seem to be important in brain neurons’ normal functioning. In addition to acting as a sort of preventive measure against brain issues, a small serving of nuts in the middle of the day can keep your energy up, too.
Spinach and Leafy Greens
Eating a serving of spinach or another dark green veggie every day can be enough to prevent mental decline by an average of 11 years, according to a Rutgers University study. Leafy, dark green veggies are packed with essential nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotene.
Go ahead and add a scoop of guac. Research suggests that foods high in vitamin E, like avocados, are associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later on in life.
In addition to vitamin E, peanut butter contains a healthy dose of good-for-you fat that keeps your brain running strong. And since adding fiber-rich whole wheat to your diet also promotes brain health, you don’t have to be embarrassed about adding a good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich back into your lunch rotation.
A bowl of lentil salad. Image by jules.
Lentils are full of iron, which helps form myelin in your body. Myelin is essential for fast , healthy red blood cells that transmit oxygen, and the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.
When it comes to brain health, blueberries are a powerhouse, according to a study from Tufts University. Eating a handful or so every day can dramatically slow down and even reverse memory and motor coordination issues that come along with aging. Out of almost a hundred fruits, veggies, nuts and spices tested, blueberries had the most antioxidants per serving. These help eliminate free radicals, which can contribute to the onset of age-related diseases.
Tea with sugar. Image by Kaboompics.
Tea, especially green, is also high in antioxidants. What makes it unique is something called theanine, an amino acid that can help boost your creativity and problem-solving skills. Theanine and the bit of caffeine found in tea also help you maintain focus while running around from task to task, meaning you’ll get more done.
Organic foods won’t magically improve your brain’s abilities, of course. With the right kind of diet and some patience, though, you’ll see benefits over time.
Organic foods are often fresher and contain fewer chemicals, pesticides and other synthetics, which means you’re putting fewer toxins into your body. And since so many tasty organic foods help you get rid of those in the first place, why make the job more difficult?