If you’re anything like me, you crave alternative health! You love making yourself healthier by using natural approaches and you love finding new and promising research on potential solutions to everyday issues and even chronic disease. I love taking the “natural” route.
I’ve dabbled with supplements, shakes, diets, and countless fitness contraptions in an effort to be as healthy as possible. Some of it has worked, but most of it has not. Along the way, I’ve come to realize, however, that the most important and most essential performance-enhancing action you can take, is to eat the right foods.
To become the healthiest person you can possibly be, you have to eat well! After all, “You are what you eat.” as the famous sentiment goes.
Here are 11 foods to consume to be at your very best both physically and mentally.
Turmeric, also known as Curcumin, is perhaps the most powerful herb ever discovered. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. It also has chronic disease-fighting abilities and has been shown to be fairly effective in preventing and treating both cancer and dementia—particularly Alzheimer’s Disease. To eat or drink Turmeric, you can add it to rice, soup, vegetables, or anything else really. It mixes in really well.
2. Coconut Oil
One of the healthiest fats on the planet, Coconut Oil is a must-add for many people. Coconut Oil’s benefits are a laundry-list of “Wows.” From energy increases (because of its MCT/Ketogenic effect), to fat burning, to chronic brain disease treatment, to virus, fungi, and bacteria killing properties, to cholesterol improvement, Coconut Oil covers it all! Although there are many ways to cook with Coconut Oil, the easiest, and in my humble opinion, best way to have Coconut oil, is to simply use it as a spread on toast. It beats the heck out of butter!
3. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba is a well-documented and well-researched herb. Its history dates back thousands of years and its benefits have been reaped for just as long. It’s one of the strongest and most helpful antioxidants and is frequently used as an anti-aging herb. Not only can it potentially make you look younger, but it can also make you feel younger as well. It’s used by many as a cognitive enhancer and a memory booster. It improves circulation throughout the body and promotes increased blood-flow to the brain, awakening and revitalizing the billions of neurons in your head! The easiest way to consume Ginkgo and reap its benefits would be to add it to your tea.
Blueberries aren’t just a delicious fruit to enjoy, they’re also an extremely healthy body and brain snack as well! They’ve been studied and found to be a very strong antioxidant and brain cell rejuvenator. Blueberries contain bioflavonoids and phytonutrients which promote anti-aging and increase memory function. If you’d like, you can eat blueberries fresh or just add them to your favorite smoothie.
Fish, namely fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines, are perfect for overall health! They are packed with muscle-building protein and brain-improving fat. It’s the perfect combination of brawn and brains! The fatty acids in fish, which I’m sure you’re familiar with, called omega-3 fatty acids, are great for just about every function in the human body. They help with depression, memory, heart health, inflammation, immune support, and so much more! For a great and easy meal just throw some salmon in the oven.
Packed with protein, minerals, and vitamins, eggs (the entire egg) offers a great blend of body and brain support. The high protein content, similar to fish, provides essential muscles building ingredients and equally important amino acids for brain function. Not only this, but the B-vitamins loaded in eggs are essential for memory, stress support, and neural processing. Also, the common misconception that eggs are bad for cholesterol has little evidence. In fact, the opposite appears to be true. Although eggs may contain a good amount of cholesterol, they don’t actually raise blood cholesterol in the individual consuming them, thus making them harmless in this regard. Eggs can be consumed in a myriad of ways. Whether frying them, boiling them, scrambling them, adding them to salad, or something else, they are always good!
Similar in its process and its effectiveness to Turmeric, Ginger is a wonder-herb! It has many of the same powerful disease and infection-fighting abilities as Curcumin. From its anti-cancerous properties, to its antibacterial effectiveness (by some accounts better than antibiotics), to its anti-inflammatory effect, to its use in morning sickness and upset stomach, Ginger is a proven super-food. Not only can it be taken every day for gastrointestinal issues like upset stomachs, but it can also be helpful for brain function by inhibiting chronic inflammation and relieving headaches. Ginger can easily be added to any meal in need of flavoring. Simply chop it up and add it on!
Almonds are like nature’s multi-vitamin. They are packed with tons of macronutrients and micronutrients. There great for brain function, energy, skin health, muscle building, anemia, impotency, diabetes, and so much more! They’re filled with high-quality protein and equally great monounsaturated fats. Almonds contain Riboflavin and Carnitine which are both great for brain function and energy support. Aside from eating them whole, try making homemade almond butter. It is delicious!
Kale is another super-food on the list. It helps so many functions in the body and is incredibly beneficial to both the body and brain. Kale is made up of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and good fats. Kale helps with sex drive, energy, overall happiness, and even memory. It does so because of its incredible anti-inflammatory ability and its nutritional make-up of essential compounds. The healthy fats, the B-vitamins, the Iron, and the Vitamin C content, all make Kale a healthy force to be reckoned with! To mix it up, try Sautéed Kale.
Honey has been used for years as a bacterial, viral, fungal, and allergy fighter. It’s a really tasty and healthy day-to-day treat. Though its mechanisms are still not entirely known and are currently being researched for more clarity, honey is a generally safe addition to everyone’s diet (barring any sort of disease like diabetes or a sugar restriction). Honey is not only great for general use, but its effects on the brain are indisputable. It acts as a memory enhancer and also a brain protector with its anti-oxidant properties. Honey can be added to anything or eaten by itself as a stand-alone, but having it as a tasty tea is also great.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away. Apples have been known for years to boost your immune system, help with stomach aches, reduce cholesterol, and improve your heart health. But they may also boost your memory, mood, and brain function as well! It’s been found that consuming an apple, or better yet two, a day, can boost acetylcholine levels in the brain. Acetylcholine is a very important neurotransmitter in the brain and is essential in memory performance. Not only this, but apples have been studied and found to be effective at removing brain toxins that cause degenerative brain diseases like dementia! Apples are perhaps the best-tasting fruit of them all. But if you’re feeling bold, making your own apple juice may be a good way to mix things up!
There it is. The 11 most revitalizing foods for both your body and brain. Not only will you feel great physically after eating these treats, but you’ll feel great mentally as well! In fact, you can feel great now knowing you have 11 delicious foods to start eating that will make you healthier than ever!
This article originally appeared on lifehack.org