- Eating the right vegetables and fruits for your brain makes sense and isn’t
- Planting vegetables in your own back yard is fun and good for your brain.
They taste better, too.
- Taking care of your brain takes care of your whole body. It’s all
Eating what you plant is good for your brain and just plain fun
There’s no doubt about it: vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins
and minerals. But which ones help your brain the most? St. Joseph Health
offers many resources to help you make good choices (see our links below)
to keep your brain and the rest of your body healthy. And let’s
have some fun while we’re at it: Why not plant a ‘smart’
garden with the best foods for your brain? Besides, gardening can be a
great start to
adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
Why we want our brains to be healthy
Getting the most out of your brain while reducing some of the risks to
brain health over time is the foundation of brain health. The National
Institute of Aging, National Institutes of Health
says, “Throughout your life, your brain’s job is to help you make
sense of the world and help oversee your daily operations and life. Brain
health refers to the ability to remember, learn, play, concentrate and
maintain a clear, active mind. It's being able to draw on the strengths
of your brain—information management, logic, judgment, perspective,
Our brains need these 5 things
Omega-3s (fatty acids that help the brain function.) Salmon, anchovies, and sardines
are good sources, as are flax, walnuts, chia, and hemp seeds.
- Antioxidant vitamins, which are often found in whole vegetables like tomatoes,
broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, and spinach; fruits like avocados, peaches,
blueberries, and watermelon, nectarines, nuts, (almonds and walnuts),
and herbs and spices (ginger, garlic).
- Vitamin B12 and Folate – Dark green vegetables: asparagus, broccoli,
By itself, and
water found in foods like watermelon, lettuce, pineapple, celery, and cucumber
- Phytonutrients – These are found in strawberries, blueberries, and
While we cannot plant salmon and sardines, we can plant many vegetables
and fruits listed above.
Learn more about foods that can make a difference in your cognitive functioning.
You will want to do some research on where to plant, how to prepare the
soil, how wide apart to space your veggies and fruits, whether you can
plant in pots, and so forth. Check out the
University of California’s gardening tips.
Is there such a thing as a smart vegetable? Maybe not, but there is smart
eating and smart gardening. The whole family can enjoy the planning and
planting process, letting the kids, mom and dad, and the grandparents
choose their favorite food. Then it’s great to see the little seeds
start to peek out of the ground, the tiny plants turn to bigger plants,
the little buds turning to flowers, and the fruit or vegetable popping
out like magic. Besides, there’s nothing much better than the taste
of fresh-grown fruits and vegetables right out of the garden.
Now let’s get planting.
We cannot guarantee your garden will grow, but your family will have fun
trying and will benefit from being active. Check out
25 more fun ways to get your kids moving.
In Southern California, St. Joseph Hoag Health offers
Healthy Plate Classes at the Center for Health Promotion locations in Santa and Brea, as well
as encouraging and teaching healthy eating that corresponds to these nationally
MyPlate Fruits, and
MyPlate Oils. In Northern California,
Healthy for Life improves the health and fitness of Sonoma County children through school-based
exercise and nutrition education activities.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.