Credit: google imagesTo increase your chances of healthy, optimized brain function select the best fuel possible. Specific “smart” foods can easily be included in your daily diet to improve brain function and to slow the aging process.
Nourish the brain by consuming these proven smart foods daily and you can change your life by elevating your mood, enthusiasm, drive, pleasure and clarity.
Foods to avoid include processed fast foods and sugary fatty foods. When consuming processed fast foods the body is burdened by extra work.White sugar is a naked carbohydrate stripped of all goodness, to process this type of sugar the body has to make up the shortfall in nutrients which it steals from you. White processed sugar also found in so called energy drinks can give you the instant high- energy boost you are looking for but this is short lived and can leave you feeling tired, sad, irritated and anxious.
Specific foods in nature’s bounty fuel your brain for optimum performance and actually make you smarter.
1 Eat more fish
(EFAs) Essential fatty acids high in Omega 3’s are found in oily fish including salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers. Also found in linseed (flaxseed) oil, soya bean oil, pumpkin seeds, walnut oil and soya beans.
Lasting powers of concentration and the continuous flow of oxygen from blood sugars to feed brain cells are paramount. EFAs are essential for good brain function helping to protect the myelin sheath which is the insulation surrounding nerve fibres enabling the free flow of messages throughout the brain.
2 Are you getting your Oats?
Organic wholegrains – oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice can reduce the risk Credit: google imagesfor heart disease and will lift your mood, high in fibre B vitamins and slow releasing sugars wholegrains can keep you buoyant all day. Information is carried between the cells in the brain by chemicals called neurotransmitters - and these play a key role in your mood. One of the key neurotransmitters is dopamine, the ' feel - good' messenger. High levels of dopamine give you enthusiasm, drive and pleasure. Falling levels make you feel sad, empty, bored and irritated. Fatty sugary foods give you that instant energy and gratification with a surge of dopamine however this is short lived where as slow release – protein rich foods like “porridge for breakfast will keep you going all day”. Other foods such as beets, eggs, almonds, meat and soybeans include important molecules used to manufacture dopamine. Bacon and eggs for breakfast will also keep you going all day because of tryptophan which the brain uses to manufacture serotonin responsible for contentment and reducing anxiety.
3 Broccoli is Brain food
Credit: google imagesBroccoli is high in vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower. Dark green leafy vegetables, fish liver, kelp, soybeans, egg yolks, alfalfa, yoghurt, strawberries, peas, carrots, cauliflower, papaya, safflower and more all contain vitamin K which is also responsible for vitality and longevity. In healthy people vitamin K is produced in the gastrointestinal tract by bacteria, a healthy stomach is an important factor in nutrient absorption.
Vitamin C present in most fresh fruit and vegetables and has long been thought to have the power to increase mental agility, acting as an antioxidant protecting other vitamins and body tissue from injury, pollution, poisons and free radicals. While also helping to maintain the strength of blood vessel walls particularly those of tiny capillaries and one of the best sources of this vital vitamin is blackcurrants.
Credit: google images tomatoes - Lycopene is a carotenoid and phytonutrient found in red fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, pink grapefruits, watermelons and papayas. It is the compound that is responsible for the red colour in these foods. There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's. Lycopene may help prevent DNA damage in the cells and help the cells to function better. High levels of lycopene, in the blood and fatty tissues, correlate with reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration.
6 Blueberries you bet
Credit: google imagesBlueberries - a regular diet with fresh blueberries in season improves your memory. Blueberries are a major source of flavonoids, in particular anthocyanins and flavanols. Although the precise mechanisms by which these plant-derived molecules affect the brain are unknown, they have been shown to cross the blood brain barrier after dietary intake. It is believed that they exert their effects on learning and memory by enhancing existing neuronal (brain cell) connections, improving cellular communications and stimulating neuronal regeneration. The enhancement of both short-term and long-term memory is controlled at the molecular level in neurons. Recent research was able to show that the ability of flavonoids to induce memory improvements are mediated by the activation of signalling proteins via a specific pathway in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls learning and memory.
7 Vital Vitamins
B vitamins – found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, legumes, liver, kidney, orange juice, brewer’s yeast and more is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and is a part of every gene and chromosome in every cell. Concentrated in spinal and extracellular fluid it is essential for mental and emotional health stress and fatigue. 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. High doses of B6, B12 and folic acid can significantly reduce brain shrinkage.
8 Able Avacado
Credit: google images8 Avacado - Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health while avocado is a fatty fruit, it is important to note it is a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. "And healthy blood flow means a healthy brain," Avocados also lower blood pressure, high blood pressure is a risk factor for the decline in cognitive abilities, a lower blood pressure should promote brain health. Avocados are high in calories, just adding just 1/4 to 1/2 of an avocado to one daily meal as a side dish is all you need.
Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E and higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. Responsible for protecting vitamins A and C and increases the ability of white blood cells to resist infection.
Found in walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, or organic un-hydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini. Raw or roasted doesn't matter, although if you're on a sodium-restricted diet, try unsalted nuts. When consumed daily they are very satisfying and make a great alternative to snacking on comfort food.
I will just briefly mention a few herbs here Withania Somnifera, Gotu Kola, Ginkgo Biloba and many more I recommend you take with professional advice however Sage, Garlic, Ginger and Rosemary are easily available foods you can use liberally. Rosemary tea is particularly uplifting make sure to drink this during the day only if you want to sleep at night.Credit: google images
An herbal tea can be made with a 3 sage leaves, 3 thin slices of ginger and a small spring of rosemary in a cup pour over boiling water and infuse 3 minutes. Strain, discard the herb and drink hot or cold sweeten with a little honey if desired.