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Let’s Eat Like Our Lives Depend On It (Because They Do.)
What does it really take to reach our peak performance as humans? The fact is, within each of us is the unique ability to unlock an inner genius. The foods we eat, the thoughts we think, and the way we move our bodies all affect the intricate set of superpowers we have lying dormant. Mere inches behind your eyes are 86 billion of the most efficient transistors known to mankind—the neural network known as “you.” The fact that the human brain is capable of storing nearly 8,000 iPhones worth of info illustrates its impressive capabilities and divine functions.
Look in the mirror. You are a masterpiece.
Before we dive into the genius food (or superfood) secrets that unleash your inner smarts, first let’s address why our brains are hurting so much in such an advanced society.
Society is Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
Simplicity is key when embarking on any journey. An important way to begin your quest for better wellness is to ask… why? The why’s can serve as the foundation for this miraculous unfolding.
When initiating this health journey, our physical symptoms can prompt investigative questions like, “why are the simple things so hard for me to do?” The answer to our “why” could actually lead to a very simple answer: we are what we eat. Our hope is that this quest to “heal thyself” leads to a lifelong commitment of smart food choices that can better your brain health.
Eat These 7 Genius Foods for Brain Health
There’s a critical link between simple dietary lifestyle choices and drastically improving overall cognitive function. Each bite of food we take is an investment in our future brain and makes our own lives more vibrant in the present moment too.
Here are 7 smart (and low carb, gluten free!) foods to unlock your better brain power.
Genius Food #1: Dark Chocolate
Decadently rich in cocoa flavanols (a type of polyphenol), dark chocolate has been shown to reverse signs of cognitive aging and improve blood flow to the brain. Not only that, it will instantly give you a better, more balanced mood and increase the neurotransmitter, serotonin.
Genius Food #2: Avocados
Avocados are a phenomenal superfood go-to and have the highest total fat-protecting capacity of any fruit or veggie. Your brain is the fattiest organ in the body which makes a high dose of healthy monounsaturated fats like avocados a beautiful pairing for the best brain function. As an added bonus, avocados are great for heart health since they can help lower cholesterol.
Genius Food #3: Almonds
Almonds are the ultimate superfood snack (and why not add a few pieces of dark chocolate for the most radiant trail mix?). They are a famously rich source of polyphenols and the fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E, which supports neuroplasticity.
Genius Food #4: Blueberries
Blueberries, or as neuroscientist Dr. Amen calls them, “brain berries,” are abundant in antioxidants. These blue beauties are simply brimming with flavonoids—a class of polyphenols found throughout other “genius foods” such as extra virgin olive oil. Which brings us to our next smart food…
Genius Food #5: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) is a must for any genius food lover’s pantry. It’s the easiest to utilize because you can literally pour it on everything (including yourself, it makes a great body lotion.) Olive oil contains a compound called oleocanthal, a type of phenol that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Be diligent about finding the highest quality brands and look for darker bottles that protect its delicate compounds.
Genius Food #6: Dark Leafy Greens
These veggies are your brain’s best bud! According to a study, they’ve been shown to help slow the process of cognitive decline and lower the risk of developing Alzheimers. Tender greens such as cabbage, kale, and arugula are ripe with folate, magnesium, and fiber which feeds the gut’s microbiome.
Genius Food #7: Wild Salmon
Your brain is 60% fat—fatty acids specifically. But it also needs supplemental fatty acid to perform optimally… and it has a favorite. DHA is an omega-3 found in fish, especially salmon! DHA protects your brain cells and helps increase neurotransmitter production. If your brain doesn’t get enough DHA, your cognition levels can really suffer and lead to memory loss, mood disorders, and even Alzheimers.
Genius Foods Are Just the Beginning
Celebrating our body’s innate wisdom means nourishing ourselves, deeply with appropriate lifestyle changes. It’s not just what we eat, but how we eat it (and how it was grown).
Stick to what has remained closest to nature, go for organic, and buy local if possible. The most important part is to stay connected to our source and seek out what’s purest for our biological tanks. Get outside, drink in the sunshine, stay grounded, and play outside barefoot.
You are now on the path to unlocking your highest self—the genius that is you. For a deeper dive into unlocking your best and healthiest self, we recommend picking up New York Times bestseller Max Lugavere’s book, Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life. (Get it on Amazon using that link.) The book includes important new ideas such as: a full Genius Plan, shopping list, and everyday hacks to fix your fatigue and help you feel great.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 13, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy on May 28, 2021.