In the world of functional medicine, you could write a food prescription for basically any physical ailment. And when it comes to mental clarity and banishing so-called "brain fog," Drew Ramsey, MD, assistant to a clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, literally wrote the book on food-based medicine. In Eat Complete, Ramsey organizes brain food into three categories: foods that stimulate brain cell growth, foods that keep brain cells alive, and foods that produce energy.
"Really in the span of 10 days to two weeks after people start 'eating complete,' they see changes—especially if they were eating a lot of processed foods before," he told Well+Good. "People begin to notice they have more energy, sleep better, and actually feel lighter." If you want to give your brain a boost, read up on the three main foods that stimulate brain cell growth, according to Ramsey.
Packed with protein, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B, black beans are the "unsung hero of the superfood world" in Ramsey's opinion. "There's actually a direct mechanism between magnesium and this molecule in the brain that repairs brain cells, keeps them alive, and even helps new brain cells to be born," he explains.
"I think women have been given a really misleading message about red meat," he notes. "Red meat has been wrongly demonized as a root cause of our health epidemic. We are in an era of meat gluttony that obscures its health benefits. There is a reason people crave steak." Namely, the protein, zinc, and iron it offers is "arguably the most critical element for brain function."
"If there's one thing so many people are missing, it's more omega-3 fats," which he regards as the building blocks of brain cells. "Science is very powerful in how those influence brain development." He recommends trout in particular because it also contains high levels of DHA, which is found in synapses and can help brain cells connect.
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