Eating a diverse range of colorful fruits and vegetables is crucial for optimal brain health. Different colored fruits and vegetables contain unique sets of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for maintaining a healthy brain. This is why it’s important to include a rainbow of colors in your plant-based meals.
Red fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes and red bell peppers, are rich in lycopene and vitamin C, which have been shown to improve memory and cognitive function. They also contain antioxidants that protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals.
Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and oranges, are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, which support eye health and cognitive function. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect the brain from damage.
Green fruits and vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and broccoli, are rich in vitamins K and C, as well as folate, which is important for brain health. These nutrients support the production of neurotransmitters, which help transmit signals in the brain, and also help to reduce oxidative stress.
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, blackberries, purple cabbage, and purple grapes, are rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins, which can help improve memory and cognitive function. They also protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress.
Here is a sample raw vegan meal plan that includes foods from all the colors of the rainbow:
Rainbow Chia Pudding: Mix chia seeds with almond milk and date syrup, and divide into 6 different containers. Add blueberries, beets, or spirulina to each container to create a rainbow of colors. Top with fresh fruit, nuts, and coconut flakes.
Rainbow Salad Bowl: Start with a base of mixed greens and add a variety of colorful raw veggies such as cherry tomatoes (or sundried tomatoes which are my fave) (red), carrots (orange), bell peppers (yellow), cucumber (green), purple cabbage, and beet slices (red/purple). Top with a citrus vinaigrette and a sprinkle of hemp seeds.
Rainbow Smoothie: Blend frozen berries of different colors (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) with almond milk (or you can just use water), spinach, and a banana for a delicious and nutritious snack.
Rainbow Veggie Sushi: Fill nori sheets with a rainbow of veggies such as yellow squash, red bell pepper, purple cabbage, and avocado. Serve with a dipping sauce made from almond butter, coconut aminos, and grated ginger.
My main focus while back home in Florida was on having half my plate be a cruciferous vegetable. I pair it with a 1/4 of my plate full of protein (usually legumes of some sort) and 1/4 of my plate with fat which is always 1/2 an avocado. Having protein and fat on the plate is essential if you want to feel satisfied and eat less. You don’t have to go hungry on a nutrient-dense whole-food vegan diet.
I find that not enough people are really balancing their plates. Over the holidays, I was grateful to have wonderful meals prepared for me by family members and while the meals were all vegan and whole foods, they lacked protein in a meaningful way. It seems people think going clean vegan means no protein at all, which is why I think people say they feel hungry all the time. I did not understand it until I saw what folks were preparing.
The fat also makes a huge difference in satiety where you don’t even want a second serving, not because it was awful and lacked flavor but because you are quite full. I have also been practicing eating until 80% full, so I don’t overdo it and feel like trash. Adding that 1/2 an avocado helps with that.
One of the significant risk factors for memory loss is insufficient blood flow to the brain and also inflammation. Tests can be conducted to determine the health of blood flow in the body, which I outline for my coaching clients. Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as engaging in regular exercise, are essential for reducing stress and improving metabolic health, both of which are crucial for maintaining healthy blood flow and mitigating inflammation in the brain and body overall.
Getting sufficient sleep is critical. Also, meditating or praying for 10 to 20 minutes a day is helpful. Meditation has been shown to have positive effects on the brain, particularly in the areas of gray matter, the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus. Regular meditation can lead to changes in brain structure and reduce stress, improve focus and memory, slow the aging process, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. These benefits can help us maintain cognitive function, regulate emotions, and improve overall mental health.
I have tried many different meditation techniques and my current favorite that I do regularly is Qigong. This moving meditation is an ancient Chinese technique that helps to harness the energy in your body and promote healing and better functioning. In this practice, you focus on opening and balancing the energy pathways in your body through breathwork, focused attention, and slow movement.
Sound bath meditation is another form of meditation I love. When I say this form is delicious, it is truly delicious. They regularly offer this at my local gym. Sound bath meditation uses soothing sounds from crystal bowls, gongs, and other instruments to help calm your mind and reduce stress. Both of these practices are ideal for us busy professionals, leaders and changemakers who are doing big things in the world as it helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your brain health and overall well-being, consider incorporating meditation into your daily routine. Make sure it is something you enjoy and if you don’t know what you enjoy yet, try a variety of things until you find it.
Same thing with exercise. Find something you like. You can even use Chat GPT to help you put a workout plan together based on your goals and what you like to do.
If your health goal is to increase your muscle mass, decrease body fat percentage, or do strength training on certain days, you can use Chat GPT to organize all your wants and needs and put a whole plan together.
I can show you how to do that. This technology does not have to work against us. Some folks are ringing alarms on new AI tools and there are concerns to be had, but I believe this tool is really useful on your health journey. It can help you organize your life in a variety of ways, and I’m here to help. Let’s jump on a call so I can show you how. We can dive deep on your unique situation and I can help you take action and make your health goal or vision that’s been swimming around in your head come to life. That’s why people hire a coach, because they’re tired of talking about the things they want and actually want to get and be what they have been envisioning. If that’s you, I can help you. Book a consult with me today to get started!