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10 Foods to Boost your Brainpower

Eating well is good for your mental as well as your physical health. The brain requires nutrients just like your heart, lungs or muscles do. But which foods are particularly important to keep our grey matter happy?

1. Opt for wholegrains

Like everything else in your body, the brain cannot work without energy. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from the adequate, steady supply of energy – in the form of glucose in our blood to the brain. Achieve this by choosing wholegrains with a low-GI, which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. Opt for ‘brown’ cereals, wheatbran, granary bread and brown pasta.

Wholegrains

2. Eat oily fish

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body and must be obtained through diet. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish as EPA and DHA. Good sources include linseed (flaxseed) oil, soya bean oil, pumpkin seeds, walnut oil and soya beans. They are good for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and general wellbeing. Oily fish contains EPA and DHA in a ready-made form, which enables the body to use it easily. The main sources of oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers. Low DHA levels have been linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.

Mackerel

3. Binge on blueberries

Evidence accumulated at Tufts University in the United States suggests that the consumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss. Widely available, so there’s no excuse.

Blueberry

4. Eat more tomatoes

There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.

Tomatoes

5. Add vitality with vitamins

Certain B vitamins – B6, B12 and folic acid – are known to reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risk of stroke, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. A study of a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment found that after two years of intervention with high doses of B6, B12 and folic acid there was significantly less brain shrinkage compared to a subset given placebo treatment.

Runners

6. Get a blackcurrant boost

Vitamin C has long been thought to have the power to increase mental agility. One of the best sources of this vital vitamin are blackcurrants.

Blackcurrants

7. Pick up pumpkin seeds

Just a handful of pumpkin seeds a day is all you need to get your recommended daily amount of zinc, vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills.

Pumpkin seeds

8. Bet on broccoli

A great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.

Broccoli

9. Sprinkle on sage

Sage has long had a reputation for improving memory and although most studies focus on sage as an essential oil, it could be worth adding fresh sage to your diet too.

Sage

10. Go nuts

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that a good intake of vitamin E might help to prevent cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly. Nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with leafy green vegetables, asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs, brown rice and wholegrains.

Walnuts

Brainpower supplements

Although research linking diet and dementia is still in its infancy, there are a few important relationships between nutrients and brain health that are worth exploring. Having a nourishing, well rounded diet gives our brain the best chance of avoiding disease. If your diet is unbalanced for whatever reason, you may want to consider a multivitamin and mineral complex and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to help make up a few of the essentials. If you are considering taking a supplement it is best to discuss this with a doctor or qualified healthcare professional.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in 2014, Lifestyle

 

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5 Foods To Boost Your Brain Power

Eating doesn’t only lighten your mood and strengthen your muscles but it can also boost your brain and improve your cognitive performance. Adding brain-friendly foods to your diet can sharpen your thinking, clear your memory, and help you learn new skills faster. These brain foods are known for increasing blood flow throughout the body, meaning your brain and your heart can benefit from these healthy snacks as well. So start eating smart by incorporating these power foods into your regular menu.

1. Curry

Not only does this spicy dish clear your sinuses but it can also clear out your brain. Turmeric, the fiery spice that makes curry that yellow-hot colour, is also responsible for clearing plaque out of your brain. Amyloid plaques, the protein buildups thought to be responsible for causing Alzheimer’s in some patients, affect the physical structure of the brain tissue and can disrupt brain function depending on how rampant the buildup is. By eating curry, you can break down the plaque buildup and keep your brain refreshed and functioning.

2. Sage

If you’ve ever used sage to add to your soup or salad dressing, you know how fragrantly wonderful this herb smells. But did you know that sage also has anti-inflammatory qualities that can help enhance your memory and improve your overall brain health? Sage has been shown to improve memory recall. Sage is also an incredibly versatile herb, which you can to add flavour to hearty soups, create sage butter sauces, and even make into ice cream.

3. Berries

Blueberries are among the most essential foods when it comes to boosting your brain power, but strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries all come with their own health-related perks. Studies have shown that cranberries can help patients revive brain functioning after mild to moderate strokes. Strawberries work to counteract age-related cognitive decline, and raspberries are rich in fibre to help strengthen the brain, reduce cholesterol, and lower your blood pressure. In fact, all berries are stock full of antioxidants, and recent studies are finding that these antioxidants can actually improve communication between neurons in the brain.

4. Beets

The betalains in the beet are what give them the juicy, purple colour, but for your body, these nutrients act as detoxifiers and anti-inflammatories. Beets are also rich in natural nitrates that can work to improve memory and cognitive functioning. The nitrates help dilate your blood vessels, increasing blood flow to your brain in order to help you improve your memory retention. Beets are some of the most diverse vegetables in the food pyramid. You can pair them with other veggies by adding them in your salads or bulk up your fruit smoothies by blending them into the mix. If memory loss is one of your major health concerns, eat more beets and other foods that will work to strengthen your memory.

 

5. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are excellent for your brain health, primarily because they contain lycopene and beta-carotene. They are antioxidants that help eliminate free radicals, which are the main cause of inflammation in your brain and occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. If you don’t like eating tomatoes on their own, try cooking tomato soup or slow-cooked tomato sauce to get your healthy dose of antioxidants.   While these top five foods will boost your brain power and cognitive performance, it is important to discuss with your doctor what kind of dietary changes are most healthy for you. If you have existing heart conditions, cognitive disorders, or mood disorders, some of these power foods can cause complications. Eat smart by researching which foods are best for your diet and how you can boost your cognitive functioning in the healthiest way possible.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2014 in 2014, Lifestyle

 

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