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Brain Food | What are brain foods?

Maria Bell
by Maria Bell Published on 10 October 2011
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We women are obsessed with food... particularly foods that gives us glowing skin, healthy hair and a beautiful ‘bod’. Brain foods - that's foods that help us with brain power - are often overlooked but a healthy mind is just as important (if not more) than a pert bum and flawless complexion.

Brain Food | What are brain foods?

Certain types of foods dubbed ‘Brain Food’ are proven to significantly boost performance, learning, memory and for the pregnant lady, even your child’s development!

Definitely worth a look we think! That's why we've compiled an "All You Need to Know" guide on Brain Foods.

Find out how to keep both your body and mind healthy through the food you eat. We are so good to you!

What are ‘Brain Foods’:

Brain Food is a collection of foods that stimulate your body and brain.

These are foods characterised by:

• High in Omega 3 fatty acids
• High in Antioxidants
• High in iron
• High in Folic acid and vitamin B12
• Low glycemic-index
• High in vitamins such as Vitamin B and C
• High in protein
• High in Choline

Avoid:

• High levels of saturated fats
• Heavy meals
• High levels of sugar

What exactly is 'Brain Food':

Ok, so there is a difference in knowing that these things are good for you and understanding why.

Does a certain type of cheese suddenly mean you’ll be able to think like Stephen Hawkins or have the memory to rival an elephant?

Not quite, but substantial research by UCLA Professor of Neurosurgery and Physiological Science, Dr. Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, author of ‘Brain Foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function’ have all but proven the link between food and brain power.

"Diet changes can enhance cognitive abilities, protect the brain from damage and counteract the effects of aging.

"The past 5 years has seen a tremendous increase in research that supports the importance of a diet rich in omega-3s, flavonoids, B-vitamins, anti-oxidants and more for mental & emotional fitness." Says Dr. Gomez-Pinilla, a member of the UCLA's Brain Research Institute.

Foods that boost your Brain:

  • Oily Fish

If you’re looking for food that’s going to kick start that brain of yours then Fish is the place to start!

Fit to burst with Omega 3 fatty acids, an essential source of DHA which is crucial to maintaining the health of our nervous system.

Proven to help mental clarity with links between low levels of DHA and Alzheimer’s, a mood enhancer and reduces cholesterol, there seems to be only one decision...fish, fish and more fish.

  • Eggs

Poached, fried, scrambled or boiled, it doesn’t matter! Whichever way you enjoy your eggs there will always be the key ingredient Choline.

Proven to improve brain function eggs also contain a high degree of anti-oxidants which protect your cells and brain from free radicals which cause your cells to be damaged and age faster.

  • Blueberries& Blackcurrants

These tiny treats are especially good for your brain since they contain Anthocyanins which is the most powerful form of anti-oxidant.

Research from Tufts University in the United States in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that ‘blueberry extract can improve short term memory loss’.

  • Wholegrain Foods

A diet rich in a mix of wholegrain foods such as cereals, wheat-bran, wheat-germ and whole-wheat pasta increases the intake of folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 which studies suggest to dramatically increase the ability to re-call information. So there you go.

  • Tomatoes

There is significant evidence to suggest that by eating tomatoes you can reduce the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's.

  • Dark Vegetables

Yet another reason to make sure you get that 5 a day vegetables are yet another sources of antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment by diminishing oxidative stress.

The main contenders vying to motivate your mind are spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower so get plenty of them!

  • Pumpkin Seeds

In this case size really doesn’t matter- only a handful a day of these tiny seeds is all you need to get your entire daily recommended amount of zinc, vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills.

  • Nuts

A guilty pleasure of ours it’s great to learn that they are brilliant for your brain. Packed full of Vitamin E a study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that these little beauties could help to prevent poor memory!

  • Chocolate

Can you believe your eyes, what a treat. According to studies led by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush of Wheeling Jesuit University he found that ‘subjects who had consumed either milk chocolate or dark chocolate 15 minutes before they were tested performed better than those given carob or nothing at all’...

We definitely don’t need an excuse.

  • Water

Last but by no means least is water. Ultimately our bodies are around 80% water so keeping hydrated to ensure your body is ticking over nicely is a no-brainer!

Others include:
Strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, plums, brussel sprouts, sage, broccoli, spinach, oranges, red grapes, red bell pepper, cherries and kiwis, walnut oil, avocados and flaxseeds.

by Maria Bell

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