As a Natural Health Insiders reader, you know your diet is one of the mostimportant factors for keeping your brain healthy and your mind sharp for the rest of your life.
But the one thing that can throw you off the rails is bad snacking. Sudden hunger pangs in between meals drive many people to eat everything in sight.
But there’s an easy, cheap, and delicious way to satisfy your cravings andstick to your healthy diet…
So before you reach for an “energy” bar or rip open a bag of greasy chips, check out my list of “7 best snack foods for your brain.” You can mix and match them for a treat customized to your own tastes.
If you were ever in Scouts as a kid, you might remember making bags of GORP — granola, oats, raisins and peanuts. People tell me it eventually became so compromised it included M&Ms, yogurt-covered pretzels, and anything else that was bite-size and sugary.
Scouts are not the only ones who have fallen off the health wagon. In gas stations and health food stores today, there’s a huge variety of similar unhealthy or pseudo-healthy “trail mixes” you can buy. And bars with similar ingredients.
They’re packed with sugar, additives, colors and other junk. Even the ones in health food stores are too sugary — and often piled near the cashier to tempt you while you wait in line.
It’s good business, although not good for the customers. The sweet and salty combo of crunchy finger-food is just about irresistible …
That’s why you might want to make your own high quality, brain-healthy snack with these ingredients I’ve researched and talked about previously inNatural Health Insiders.
Just pick the ingredients you like best, mix, and go:
- Raw, unsalted almonds – These tasty morsels are an incredible brain food, with lean protein to repair cells, the antioxidant zinc, vitamins B6 and E, brain-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium to increase fluidity and strengthen nerves.1
- Raw, unsalted walnuts – Not only are walnuts a fantastic source of antioxidants, they actually lower stress signals in the brain.2 Raw, unsalted nuts are just about a religion at my house. And don’t worry about the fat – the fats in nuts are good for you.
- Brazil nuts – A little goes a long way when it comes to Brazil nuts; you only need two or three per day. These special nuts are packed with bioavailable selenium, which supports your brain’s favorite antioxidants, glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase.3
- Dark chocolate – Decadent dark chocolate is absolutely on my trail mix list. Cacao is a superfood; it can help lower blood pressure and boost your mood. Look for at least 85% cocoa, or try organic cacao nibs, which are high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants and better suited for a trail mix.4 Personally, I eat unsweetened baker’s chocolate – 100% dark – and yes, I like it.
- Toasted coconut flakes – These tropical treats have a crisp, sweet taste unlike anything else. They’re also packed with medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil), some of your brain’s favorite fats for fuel.5
- Dried blueberries – Both sweet and tart, this hard-working berry can also turn back the clock on age-related memory loss with its assortment of flavanols. Also a good mood enhancer.6
- Dried vegetables such as kale or green peas. Kale chips are easy to make at home, and you can easily find a variety of dried green peas at your favorite health food store. These dark green veggies allow your brain to make more neurotransmitters and activate hormones that keep your brain running smoothly.7
Dehydration can be a good thing
Since it’s practically impossible to find dried fruit and vegetables without added sugar or preservatives, one of my capable researchers has started making her own at home. And I’ve heard a home food-dehydrating machine advertised on the radio, by no less a luminary than Ron Paul, a former Presidential candidate.
So preparing dried foods at home is NOT a crazy idea. It seems to be catching on.
It’s a lot easier than you may think … and you don’t have to go buy a fancy gizmo to do it. If your kitchen has an oven, you have a dehydrator.
Dehydration is simply the process of baking on low temperatures for a long time, until moisture has been removed.
The University of Georgia wrote up a fantastic guide to drying fruit and vegetables at home. You can see it here. 8
I hope you find this list of NHI-approved snack ingredients helpful …
And happy snacking!
- Do Almonds Really Boost Brain power?
- Grape Juice, Berries, and Walnuts Affect Brain Aging and Behavior
- Can two nuts a day keep Alzheimer’s away?
- Dark Chocolate Good for Your Brain
- How Coconut Benefits the Brain, Liver, and Digestive System
- Medicinal Effect of Nutraceutical Fruits for the Cognition and Brain Health
- Peas & Brain Chemicals
- Preserving Food: Drying Fruits and Vegetables