Our Nutritionist Shares 6 Easy Tricks for Brain Healthy Eating
When it comes to helping people adopt brain healthy eating habits, Zoe Davis is an expert. As the Amen Clinics resident nutrition counselor, she has a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis in Health Psychology. And she’s completed post-graduate training in nutrition, disordered eating behaviors, and holistic obesity care. Through her brain health nutrition coaching at Amen Clinics, she’s already helped thousands of people ditch the lifelong harmful eating patterns that contribute to anxiety, depression, and brain fog and adopt habits that promote better moods, less stress and anxiety, and greater mental clarity.
Here, she offers some of the simplest strategies she shares with the people she helps.
Trick #1. Rearrange your refrigerator.
This is such an easy trick, and it’s one that leaves most people saying, “Why didn’t I ever think of that?” Stop letting the refrigerator manufacturer tell you how to organize your groceries. Instead of storing veggies and fruit in that mysterious drawer at the bottom, where they’ll be forgotten because they are out of sight, out of mind, put them in glass containers at eye level. That way, every time you open the door, you’ll see the nutrient-dense brain healthy foods first.
Trick #2. Kick boring to the curb.
A common suggestion among nutritionists is to bake a sheet of chicken or fish for the week so you’ll have it ready to go for dinners. But most people get bored eating the same thing night after night. This trick solves that problem. When you bake that sheet of chicken or fish, season each one differently, so that when you use them throughout the week, it’s not going to taste the same every day. You can have one seasoned with curry, one with garlic, one with ginger, and so on.
Trick #3. Sneak more veggies into your meals.
One of the most common problems Zoe sees in the people she coaches is that they aren’t getting the recommended daily servings of vegetables in their meals. In fact, research shows that 90% of Americans don’t get enough vegetables and fruits. How can you up your intake of veggies? One of the simplest ways is to add veggies to eggs for breakfast. Just toss a few handfuls of spinach, kale, or mushrooms in the eggs for a major nutrient boost.
Trick #4. Get out of your rut.
So many of the people Zoe helps are stuck in a rut—eating the same things day in and day out. This can mean missing out on some important nutrients. The next time you go to the Farmers’ Market or to the grocery store, force yourself to try something new. For example, if you love almonds—Zoe’s personal favorite—branch out. Each nut and each seed offer slightly different minerals and vitamins. By mixing different nuts and seeds together, every time you grab a handful, you’ll be getting a greater variety of nutrients. Go for variety with seasonal vegetables and fruits too as a way to mix things up.
Trick #5. Use Zoe’s 15-minute rule.
When you come home from the store with all your beautiful veggies, take 15 minutes to cut up a bunch of them. Have them prepped and ready to go, so you can quickly add them quickly to eggs, salads, and other meals. This cuts down on prep time for all your meals during the week and makes it more likely that you’ll actually eat those veggies you bought.
Trick #6. Before you take a bite, take a breath.
If you eat when you’re stressed or worried, it can impair the digestive process and interfere with the absorption of the nutrients in the foods you’re eating. A quick trick that can aid your digestive system to work more effectively is to take a few deep breaths before eating. This easy strategy engages the parasympathetic nervous system to create a state of relaxation, prepare your body to release the enzymes needed to break down the foods you’re about to eat, and support the absorption of nutrients. Just place your hands in your lap and take 4-5 deep breaths before you start your meal.
You can find many more brain healthy eating tricks and tips in Zoe’s free webinar “Healing the Brain with Nutrition.”
At Amen Clinics, we take a unique brain-body approach to health and healing, which includes brain SPECT imaging, as well as laboratory testing to check physical health, an assessment of nutritional deficiencies, nutritional coaching, and other important factors.
If you want to join the tens of thousands of people who have already enhanced their brain health and improved their quality of life at Amen Clinics, speak to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.