A lack of vegetables in your diet is a big risk factor for cognitive diseases. Make sure you eat plenty of these three veggies for optimal brain health!
When it comes to health problems, neurodegenerative diseases are one of the top concerns. The loss of our brain’s function is a scary prospect – but there are plenty of ways that we can prevent it.
First, it’s important to limit carbs and keep your sugar intake down. Then, make sure you’re chowing down on brain-optimizing fats like coconut oil, and, perhaps most importantly of all, getting plenty of fresh, organic vegetables.
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Why Veggies are Great for Brain Health
There are a wide variety of vegetables which can help you optimize your brain health, and the Paleo diet includes all of them!
Evidence suggests that oxidative damage caused by free radicals can be protected against by dietary antioxidants. (1) It turns out that regular consumption of fruit and vegetables also helps to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, while also lowering your risk of cancer and heart disease. (2)
The Best Vegetables for Brain Health
While there are plenty of great veggies to choose from, these three nutrient-dense choices are the best for boosting brain health.
Researchers found that just one serving of spinach per day may help your brain stay a decade younger. (3)
When buying spinach, look for the brightest and most colorful leaves you can find. It has the most vitamin C! Spinach also contains chlorophyll, which is good for the blood.
Aim to eat one cup of spinach per day. You can mix it in with a chicken salad, cook it with coconut oil, season it with herbs and spices or even top it off with hot sauce.
Kale is another brain-friendly vegetable that packs a wallop of beneficial nutrients and vitamins. Simply put, kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence.
That’s because kale contains a beneficial compound called sulforaphane that can help fight cancer and improve cardiovascular and brain health. (4)
You can’t go wrong with this easy recipe for kale chips. You’ll get the crispy crunch of potato chips, but the brain-boosting power of kale!
Broccoli is another beneficial brain vegetable, and it packs quite a punch with very few calories.
This veggie contains all sorts of healthy vitamins and minerals, including phytochemicals, vitamin E, iron and zinc, to name a few. (5) Broccoli is an abundant source of antioxidants, vitamins and dietary minerals are largely responsible for making broccoli so great for brain health.
There are tons of great recipes that include broccoli, like broccoli tots, breads, soups, salads, casseroles and so much more. Get to chopping some up!
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Don’t Forget The Fat!
Your brain is in constant need of nutrients, fats and thousands of other things. Without a daily supply of good food (which a Paleo diet has in spades) you could be facing some trouble. Obesity and diabetes both wreak havoc on your brain, and many Americans suffer from both those conditions.
Since your brain is made up of more than 50% fat, it’s important to get plenty of healthy fat in your diet to truly optimize your brain’s function and potential. This means eating plenty of avocados, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and nuts. Stay far away from processed foods, trans fats and fast food – this is not the good kind of fat we’re looking for!
A Note on Vitamin K
As mentioned, good brain health depends on essential vitamins and minerals to function.
You need to have every advantage possible. Vitamin K (found in all three of the foods mentioned today) is one such advantage, as it is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect fat. Including vegetables at every meal is the best first step you can take.
The Bottom Line
Dark green leafy vegetables are always your best bet, and you certainly shouldn’t stop at the top three veggies in this article. For example, here are 13 mineral-rich sea vegetables filled with nourishing minerals.
Be sure to accompany your veggies with plenty of brain-boosting healthy fats, and avoid the empty calories of sugar and grains as much as possible.
Health is not a sprint – it is a marathon. Treat your brain well by giving it the proper fuel and nutrients it needs to thrive.
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