Brain-healthy foods improve mood, memory


If you start eating certain foods like fish, fortified grains, produce, nuts and seeds, health expert Chris Noonan says you should feel a big difference.

"You'll have this boost in energy. You'll have this improvement in mood. You don't know where it came from, but it's because you're filling up these deficiencies," explained Noonan.

Registered Dietician Patricia Bannan says such foods contain Omega 3 fatty acids, folic acid, tryptophan and selenium.

"Selenium is found in nuts and seeds and it's also found in meat, poultry and eggs and fish," Bannan said.

She added that tryptophan is also present in nuts, seeds and protein foods while folic acid is present in fortified grains and produce. And while these foods are common, those who don't eat them may have problems.

"There was a 2012 study in Public Health & Nutrition that found that people who ate the most junk food, which was commercially baked goods and fast food, had the highest incidents of depression," Bannan said.

On the other hand, choosing brain-boosting food makes a difference long term.

"These are things that are helping the brain sustain itself help build the foundation for neural health," Noonan said.

Such foods can be found even in a pizza place. Healthy doesn't have to be bland or boring.

Fast casual Pitfire Pizza, for example, offers seasonal pumpkin pizza with pepitas and Ahi paninis. Both are brain boosters.

Pitfire co-founder Paul Hibler says the restaurant uses ingredients like Japanese Kobacha pumpkin and butternut squash.

Even small additions to the plate like herbs can nurture the noodle.

"Herbs like sage and rosemary and curcumin that appear to have very distinctive effects upon your mood and behavior and your memory," Noonan said.

Another bonus is green tea. It contains L-theanine that helps relax the mind and keep you focused.

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