If you find yourself feeling foggy or fatigued, what you put on your plate can help.
According to Dr. Taz Bhatia, integrative medicine physician, certified nutrition specialist and host of the “Super Woman Wellness” podcast, certain nutrients can help with mental clarity, sleep and energy levels. And after incorporating these foods into your diet, you can see improvements relatively quickly.
“The beauty about getting your diet right is usually within three weeks you can see a change,” Dr. Bhatia told TODAY.
So what foods should we be reaching for? There are specific nutrients that boost our brain power (among other benefits!) — and knowing which foods have the highest amounts will get you the most bang for your buck. “These superfoods have a ton of nutrients in every serving, so they’re efficient,” said Bhatia.
As with any lifestyle change, be sure to consult your physician to make sure these foods are right for you and your individual health history.
“Magnesium, I always call the miracle micronutrient. It helps us with sleep, it calms us down, it helps balance serotonin,” Bhatia said. “Believe it or not dark chocolate is one of our best sources — one ounce of it has 64 milligrams of magnesium.”
Foods high in magnesium:
- Dark chocolate
dr Taz’s Dark Chocolate Energy Balls: Simply mix together: 1 cup almond butter, 1 tablespoon honey, 1⁄4 cup chia seeds, 1⁄4 cup cacao powder, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1⁄2 cup rolled oats or granola, and 1⁄4 cup mini dark chocolate chips .
“We’ve all got collagen in our bodies, it’s naturally occurring. We know it for skin and hair and overall health, but it actually helps support the gut lining, helping us to absorb the nutrients,” said Bhatia. “So many people are eating healthy, but they’re not absorbing what they’re eating. Collagen comes in and helps us with that, helps the brain, helps with energy.”
Getting the nutrient in supplement form has grown in popularity, but Bhatia said that it’s in a lot of naturally occurring proteins like salmon and chicken.
Foods high in collagen:
- Egg whites
- Bone broths (add to veggies or rice)
“Choline is a nutrient that comes in and coats all our nerves, so it helps us with learning, memory, focus. We really want to get choline in our diet,” said Bhatia. “Choline is naturally found in eggs — it’s one of the best sources, but you have to eat the yolk.” She recommended getting four servings of these foods per week:
- Eggs (2 eggs = 1 serving)
- Fish (salmon, tuna, cod)
- Shiitake mushrooms (1 cup)
- Beef, chicken, turkey (4-6 ounces)
“Ghee is clarified butter. It’s been used in Eastern systems of medicine for a really long time as a healing fat. The reason is ghee actually has less lactose and less casein. So, if you have someone who is dairy intolerant, they can usually tolerate ghee very well,” said Bhatia. “The secret superfood ingredient here is MCT, or medium-chain triglycerides. That helps the brain … it balances everything living in the gut, and that is really the source of our energy, so if we’re not getting some of these healthy fats in, that’s one of the biggest reasons I see brain (power ) and energy start to go down.”
A little goes a long way. You only need 1/4 — 1/2 teaspoon per day, said Bhatia. “You can spread it on something. It also has a higher smoke point so you can bake and fry with it,” she added.
How to use ghee in your diet:
- Spread on toast
- Add to any of your favorite recipes in place of butter, like oatmeal with ghee or cookies
“This is something that is not naturally occurring (in the body). Milk thistle is an herb that comes from a flowering plant,” said Bhatia. “It has so many great benefits in supporting liver health. The liver is something we don’t talk about very much; between alcohol and the environment, we get a lot of burden to our liver. It’s naturally occurring in artichokes, but an easier way to get it in is tea.”
How to get milk thistle in your diet:
- Milk thistle tea
- Ground thistle and add to smoothies