BY WENDY M. HENRICHS
Board Certified Chiropractic Pediatrician and Nutrition Counselor
One thing I have noticed with myself, my children and my patients is the relationship between diet and different types of behavior as well as the way I feel. It is no surprise that the American Journal of Public Health found that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables improves mental health. There are several foods that we can add to our diet to improve our mood, improve our mental focus, increase our attention and memory, and protect us from degenerative neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. These are my top six mood boosters we can add to our daily intake.
Blueberries: Who doesn’t love these sweet little bundles of nutrition. Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants and flavonoids that have numerous health benefits. They also decrease brain fog and inflammation in our central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) as well as increase our memory. A cup of blueberries is an excellent snack, or add some to your Greek yogurt.
Walnuts: All nuts are great sources of good fats, but walnuts are especially high in alpha linoleic acid. Consumption of this fatty acid increases our memory and decreases anxiety. An added benefit is a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Add 1/3 cup to your oatmeal, Greek yogurt or enjoy as a snack.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: Another great source of antioxidants and flavonoids as well as an excellent source of calcium. Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, beet greens and mustard greens help to increase cognition. Most days I eat at least 2 cups of dark leafy greens in my smoothie or steamed with some organic chicken, beef or wild-caught fish.
Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and zinc, both of which aid in repairing brain cells. There has been research linking insufficient zinc intake with increased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Add these to your salads, oatmeal, Greek yogurt or as a snack to reap the brain boosting benefits.
Matcha: This grassy flavored tea is a great source of antioxidants, specifically the catechin EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) which increases our immune system function and has cancer fighting properties. It also contains caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine which increases mental focus, memory and attention, but is non-jittery. This powder should be bright green and you can enjoy it as a tea or add it to smoothies.
Water: This essential nutrient is so often missed when thinking about brain fog and mental focus. Dehydration leads to sluggishness and eventually headaches. If you are tired or having trouble with concentration and/or mental focus, have a couple 8-ounce glasses of water.
Enjoy any or all of these brain boosting foods today and enjoy improved memory, and mental focus as well as all the other health benefits.
Dr. Wendy Henrichs is a board certified chiropractor and nutrition counselor at Timber Land Chiropractic in Rhinelander. For a complimentary chiropractic, nutrition or lifestyle counseling consultation, visit TimberlandChiropractic.com, Facebook, or call 715-362-4852.