If you feel like your mind needs some extra TLC these days, you’re not alone.
Once upon a time, our life was . . . different. In fact, whether you go back 10,000, 1,000, or even just 100 years ago, our day-to-day tasks and mental demands were a far cry from what they are today. For most of human history, our “schedule” has primarily revolved around things of non-negotiable value or immediate importance, including:
- Sourcing and/or making food and drink
- Contributing to our tribe by working on designated tasks/holding a job
- Fostering family and group relationships
- Maintaining a shelter/home
- Rest and sleep
- …and not much else
Certainly, it’s not that generations of the past had an easy life – disease, famine, war, less efficient tools and more made even basic survival a forefront concern on many if not most days. Yet, from a mental standpoint, our biology was well equipped to handle the stresses and strains of this kind of tangible daily life. But things have changed.
The Acceleration of the ASAP Culture
The rise of the information age, with its ever speeding-up data inputs and time demands, has created an entire global culture of distracted and over-stimulated brains.
Today, cognitive impairment is no longer a problem solely reserved for senior adults. Instead, our frequent use of technology has resulted in younger generations experiencing a sharp rise in major depression and anxiety, stress, loss of focus, fragmented thought flow, and more. And even though the statistics of our dwindling mental state are stacking up, you likely don’t need a study to confirm your mind seems to wander away more quickly than it used to … or perhaps you just feel a little “off.” Biology and technology evolve at very different rates, and as a result, our brains are not well equipped to handle the newfound manic relationship with tech that has rapidly become a ubiquitous part of life. Our brains need help … now more than ever.
Building A Support Strategy
Giving your brain a wellness upgrade is all about garnering new healthy habits that can help keep your mind in the best condition possible, so you can feel and perform optimally. While there are several ways to create a stronger brain, ranging from good sleep habits to neurofeedback to meditation, simple dietary changes are an easy and accessible set of tools that can yield powerful results. Here are three food-based upgrades for your brain you can make today:
1. Eat something green. Green leafy vegetables are one of the best brain-healthy foods you can consume, as they contain high amounts of the micronutrients (such as folate and magnesium) your brain demands for important tasks, as well as for disease protection. Aim to consume a minimum of 2 cups of leafy green vegetables a day. Spinach, kale, and arugula are three examples of ideal brain-friendly green foods.
2. Snack on nuts. Snacks are often a dietary downfall, made from refined flours, sugars, and empty calories. But nuts can also make a satisfying snack, and are prime brain food thanks to the good fats and minerals they offer. In place of something starchy or sweet, try supplementing your midday snack with a handful of almonds, cashews, or walnuts, and see if you feel a little less mentally foggy once the afternoon rolls around.
3. Incorporate natural nootropics. Natural nootropics are the most powerful brain-boosting, cognition-enhancing substances found in nature. (Think of them like superfood boosts for your brain!) They are quite potent, and can be taken as supplements or incorporated into recipes for a strategized mental boost. Natural nootropics are one of the most important tools we have to counterbalance the effects of living in an increasingly complicated world. A few exceptional varieties of natural nootropics include blueberries, ashwagandha, and reishi mushrooms.
Ready For Change?
My upcoming diet strategy book, Smart Plants, explores the entire spectrum of what to eat for better brain power and why (and includes 65 delicious recipes). But for those who are particularly interested in learning more about nootropics, my new on-demand cooking course, Optimizing Your Brain: Natural Nootropics 101 is an ideal introduction to the fascinating world of these powerful mental game-changers.