When asked how they boost memory and promote healthy brain function, most people will tell you that they get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, listen to certain types of music, or play games designed to give their brain a workout. Few people will tell you that they consider diet a key factor in brain health. But plenty of research shows that the foods we eat can have a role in sharpening our memories, increasing our concentration, preventing mental decline and improving overall cognitive functioning. So, which foods are best for brain health then, and why? And, how to you incorporate them into healthy meals you make for school-age children?
Many plant-based foods are good sources of nutrition for the body in general, including the brain. Plant-based foods have a wide variety of vitamins and antioxidants to prevent certain types of damage within the body. When you're cooking back-to-school meals, be sure to incorporate plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (in a wide variety of colors), whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts. These foods are natural sources of the nutrients necessary for a healthy brain.
If you're not familiar with a particular food, or if you have a picky eater in your family, seek out new and creative ways to use healthy ingredients; vegetables can be more appealing when paired with fruit (think fruit salsa) and salty items like seeds and nuts can enhance both sweet and savory flavors in dishes. Try adding salty seeds or nuts to melted dark chocolate or creamy yogurt parfaits.
Looking for more healthy back-to-school ideas? We've got nine foods that are proven to promote brain function and a few creative ideas for incorporating them into your cooking routine.
Check out the slideshow above for the best brain-boosting back-to-school meals.