By James Bender and Jill Stouffer

Did you know that your brain weighs in at about 2-4 pounds? Did you know that 25% of everything you eat goes to your brain? As a matter of fact, each heart beat sends 25% of your blood to the brain. That tells us how important the brain is, commanding a quarter of everything we eat and of every heartbeat. But what special attention do we pay to it? There are no special designations on menus for brain health. There are no special tags on grocery shelves directing us to “eat this for brain health”.

Everyone who goes to health food stores has seen those little red hearts on food products designating them as good for your heart. If you look for hearts and you’re a shopper that’s smart. Have you ever seen a little round ball of gray matter? I believe that health-conscious stores should start advertising “Brain Healthy Food.”

So what do you know about “Brain Healthy Food”? Most of us would answer, “Nothing.”

What do salmon rama, artichoke nut bread and chicken with mango salsa have in common? They would all receive a gray circle (brain symbol) if they were available in my food store. All these recipes provide you the important nutrients to maintain a healthy brain. Doctor Nussbaum provides these recipes and more in his highly recommended book, Save Your Brain. These recipes provide your brain with protein, carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acid and micronutrients.

We have heard it many times Eat well and live well. Doctors are all over the idea of keeping weight down and arteries clear. They warn us that clogged arteries, heart attacks and stroke are looming if we don’t follow a “good diet” and stay in shape. When we do our aerobic and weight training we have followed the path to great health. Our bodies are good to go. And so most of us think we are done! But what do we know about nutrition for a healthy brain?

We are fortunate that a brain healthy diet is the same as a heart healthy diet. Eat your salmon for Omega-3 nutrient. Include blueberries in smoothies and muffins. Eat a variety of different color vegetables to get your micronutrients. And keep on with your physical activity – keep your blood and oxygen flowing to your brain!

This is not everything required for excellent brain health but it is a fantastic start.

James Bender and Jill Stouffer are living a brain healthy lifestyle in Sarasota, Florida.