Feed Your Brain The Right Way

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Now, who doesn't love a good meal or a scrumptious snack? Being an undetachable part of our lives, food is also a great source of nutrients and a sweet or savoury sort of joy (not a bad package, no?). But like any other one of life's delights, there is also the negative aspect of food. In this post, I'm not talking about the fat-laden sort or the cholesterol infested sort, but the kind that can damage your brain if you don't eat the right way. In today's article, let me take you into the world of brain food and the wonders it can do to your brain.



The lowdown on brain food 


Not many people realize that even the food you eat affects your brainpower. Brain food is, as its name so straightforwardly suggests, food that is good for your brain. It can increase brain performance, thinking skills, or even your IQ for that matter.

Foods to avoid

  1. Sugar and Corn Syrup - These substances could bring many health problems such as obesity and diabetes, problems that will also affect your brain. Did you know that diabetes will lead to a drop in one's IQ? Also, did you know that obesity will also lower your brain power? Too much sugar will also cause spells of depression and sluggishness (post-sugar rush). Try to avoid eating sugary foods frequently unless it's a special occasion or a rare treat.
  2. (Too much) Alcohol - It has been shown that alcohol is a brain cell killer, and it interferes with dopamine production. (dopamine is a neurotransmitter of other substances in the brain, typically important when it comes to the normal functioning of the central nervous system. Drink in moderation, and avoid taking the equivalent of one or more glasses of wine daily.
  3. Nicotine - Sure, nicotine may 'soothe' nerves, but it constricts blood flow to the brain. Smoking itself will reduce brain functionality severely, so don't even think about touching that cigarette!
  4. Foods high in saturated fats - This includes foods like the widely loved full fat ice cream, as saturated fats make it harder for blood and nutrients to reach the brain by clogging blood vessels. Saturated fats have also been found to stung brain cell growth.
What you should be eating

  1. Oily fish - Omega 3 is an unsaturated fatty acid commonly found in fish oils. This is essential for the brain as it improves alertness, thinking skills, mood, and memory. It also reduces hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, as well as the risk of a degenerative mental disease, like Alzheimer's disease. A great source of Omega 3 is wild salmon, as farmed salmon is usually sea lice infested, but because the salmon species is threatened, go for wild Alaskan Salmon, and eat no more than once or twice a week in small portions.
  2. Blueberries - These berries are great for thinking, improving short term memory loss, and long term memory, and it reduces the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Try eating wild blueberries as they have even more antioxidants that will benefit your brain. Try to avoid off-season berries that tend to ripen on a truck rather than in its natural place, because they aren't as nutritional as the ones that have ripened on a bush.

  3. Tomatoes -Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, that protects you against free radical damage to cells which happens as dementia develops, particularly Alzheimer's.
  4. Wholegrain food - Wholegrain is a great source of folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, which helps with recalling information and short term memory. Folic acid also reverses memory loss and helps reduce depression.
  5. Seeds - In particular, pumpkin seeds, which enhance memory and thinking skills. A mere handful of pumpkin seeds already contains your recommended daily amount of zinc, the mineral that does these wonders to your brain.
  6. Broccoli - High in vitamin K, Broccoli enhances cognitive functionality and brainpower.
  7. Herbs - In particular, fresh sage, which has been proven to improve memory. Though not proven, many people also claim that the scent of basil or rosemary boosts brainpower, so give it a go as well. 
  8. Freshly-brewed tea - Tea contains catechines, antioxidants that boost brain performance. Don't take more than 2 or 3 cups daily because tea contains caffeine, which isn't good for you if taken in large amounts. If you want something to help boost your focus and performance, have some Peppermint tea. Researchers have found it makes one more alert and less anxious.
  9. Green leafy vegetables - This is a must to have daily. Green, leafy vegetables contain a lot of iron, which reduces the risk of fatigue, foggy thinking, and other cognitive issues. Moreover, eating vitamin B-laden Arugula or Spinach helps alleviate depression as it provides you with feel-good hormones like serotonine.


  10. High cacao percentage dark chocolate - The cacao in the chocolate contains a lot of antioxidants to protect the brain, as well as natural stimulants like caffeine that help enhance one's focus. It can also improve one's overall mood. Don't think that this is a reason to start wolfing down that big bar of chocolate you've been having your eye on though. You only need no more than 28 grams of chocolate to benefit from it. Avoid white chocolate. It does not contain a single trace of cacao beans, which means that it isn't actually chocolate.
  11. Pomegranate - This fruit contains high levels of antioxidants much like the blueberry, which are required for a healthy brain. Choose to have the fruit instead of just the juice for the fiber, as this allows the body to expel toxins from the body, which helps one think clearly.

    3 comments:

    ally. said...

    NOOOOOOO! D:
    But, buttttt, I hate blueberries and tomatoes and wholegrain food and seeds. O_O
    But I no eat too many sweets or take alcohol or smoke! ^.^
    I is moderate. :0

    Jill said...

    Ally: You could try eating acai berries as a substitute for blueberries, or you could have pomegranates instead. :)

    BFL said...

    Blueberry has been a focus of anti-aging and brain support research for the past decade, with notable research coming out of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University on the ability of blueberry anthocyanins to cross the blood-brain barrier and enhance memory, cognition, and motor skills.

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