Do you ever feel like you're constantly losing your train of thought or maybe your head just feels "foggy"? This might sound strange, but maybe the problem isn't your head. Maybe the problem lies in your gut, otherwise known as the "second brain".
The trillions of bugs that reside in your gut are actively involved in so many aspects of our body and affect your brain’s function in every moment. These gut bugs also determine the brain’s long term health and and ability to resist disease.
Among it's many jobs, the microbiome regulates inflammation, supports our immunity, produces vitamins, detoxifies our bodies, and even produces important neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Just check out the Human Microbiome Project if you're interested.
Across the spectrum of brain disorders, from Alzheimer’s to autism to multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, migraines, depression, and anxiety, unique patterns of the gut bacteria are seen that correlate with specific diseases.
Understanding of how much our overall health and our brain health are are so closely connected, it’s clear we should do everything we can to feed ourselves well. Many of us get too little of the good, energizing foods necessary to energize us and maintain optimal, "fog free", brain health.
Here are five brain-boosting tricks and a tasty treat to up your mental clarity.
Boost Your Brain Power in a Delicious Way.
1. Eat real food.
That means whole, organic, fresh, local, and unprocessed food. If it has a label or a bar code, you should probably avoid it. If your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize it, don't eat it. Processed junk foods mostly exist in the middle aisles of the grocery stores, so avoid those aisles!
2. Load Up on Plants of All Colors
These colorful superfoods come loaded with brain-boosting stuff like phytonutrients. The dark, deep reds, yellows, oranges, greens, and blues mean these foods contain powerful anti-inflammatory, detoxifying antioxidants and energy-boosting, brain-powering molecules.
3. Don't fear the Fat.
Fats have gotten a bad wrap over the years and some fats are actually very good for you and your brain. When you consider that over half your brain is made up of fat, maybe it's not such a bad thing. Some of my favorite fats are coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, and lots of nuts and avocado.
4. Pump up the Protein
We all need some protein in our diets in order to build muscle. When you lose muscle, you age faster and which is extremely taxing on your brain. Eating protein doesn't mean you need to go out and eat a whole cow, even just adding a few almonds or macadamia nuts to your day goes a long way!
5. Eliminate the Negative.
Do your very best to eliminate (or dramatically reduce) sugar in your daily eating and drinking habits. And avoid high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners (like Splenda, or Sweet n' Low), trans fats, food additives, and preservatives. These ingredients are a poison to your brain and your overall health.
Better Brain Health is a "Piece of Cake"
(Vegan, gluten free, grain free, free of refined sugars)
- 2 plantains (those are the fruits you see at the market that almost look like bananas)
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- scant cup of cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup Tigernut Flour
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- *stevia to sweeten
Preheat your over to 350°F and lightly grease a cupcake pan with coconut oil. In a blender, (I love my Vitamix), add your first five ingredients and blend until smooth. Toss your remaining dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until well incorporated. [It helps to sift the cacao powder to break up clumps]. Now pour your blender concoction into the flour and mix well. Pour your batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake your cakes for 25 minutes (I usually check at the 20 minute mark because I like them underdone).
After the cakes have cooled, frost and glaze the top or one cake and place the other cake on top. Now you can frost your sweet confections.