Our brains are powerful organic machines. They control all thought, movement, and sensation while calculating and reacting with blistering speed. This also makes our brain the most energy greedy organ in our bodies, weighing only 2% of our total body weight but consuming more than 20% of our caloric intake. Eating well is good for our mental as well as our physical health. But which foods are particularly important to keep our grey matter happy and healthy? Check it here.
Like everything else in your body, the brain cannot work without energy. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from an adequate, steady supply of energy - in the form of glucose in our blood to the brain. Achieve this by choosing wholegrain with a low-GI, which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. Opt for 'brown' wholegrain cereals, granary bread, rice and pasta.
Essential fatty acids cannot be made by the body which means they must be obtained through diet. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish in the form of EPA and DHA. Good plant sources include flaxseed, soya beans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and their oils. These fats are important for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and our general wellbeing. What makes oily fish so good is that they contain the active form of these fats, EPA and DHA, in a ready-made form, which enables the body to use it easily.
It turns out that eating walnuts can keep you from going nuts. Just munching on a few walnuts a day can improve your cognitive health. Their high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals also improve mental alertness. The vitamin E in the nuts can also help ward off Alzheimer’s.
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. They're widely available, but you can also look out for dark red and purple fruits and veg which contain the same protective compounds called anthocyanins
Eggs contain certain B vitamins, B6, B12 and folic acid – which are known to reduce levels of a compound called 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. Opt for vitamin B-rich foods like eggs, chicken, fish and leafy greens.
Richer in zinc than many other seeds, pumpkin seeds supply this valuable mineral which is vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills. These little seeds are also full of stress-busting magnesium, B vitamins and tryptophan, the precursor to the good mood chemical serotonin.
Nuts, especially walnuts and almonds, are extremely good for the brain and nervous system. They are great sources of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. Vitamin E has been shown to prevent many forms of dementia by protecting the brain from free radicals, and it improves brain power. Nuts are far healthier if you soak them overnight about 8 hours before eating them.From the Web
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