Don’t save sweet potatoes for holiday meals. Use them year round to brighten up your dinner plate and help give your brain a boost. Sweet potatoes are rich in B vitamins that keep blood sugar levels steady. They’ll help prevent mood swings and sugar cravings.
White potatoes? Spuds cause blood sugar and insulin levels to spike, then plummet, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, leaving you hungry soon after. This often leads to overeating — and weight gain.
Your brain can’t work without energy. Whole grains provide the brain with a steady supply of energy in the form of glucose, which makes it easier to concentrate and keep your thinking in good shape. Not a fan of whole wheat bread? Try rye or bread made with other grains. Just make sure the first ingredient on the label says “100 percent whole grain.”
Enriched white bread? It’s pretty weak on the nutrition front. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “enriched” simply means that this bread has synthetic nutrients filling in for some — but not all — of those removed.
Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) combine complex carbs to fuel your brain and protein to keep you alert. They’re also a great source of magnesium, believed to be the go-to mineral for controlling stress and promoting calmness. If you don’t get enough magnesium in your diet, you’re likely to feel irritable and stressed, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Croutons? They don’t have much going for them. A few might be okay for an occasional crunchy treat, but they’re high in fat and sodium, so don’t make them your routine salad topping. —Nissa Simon