Welcome to your MCI Wellbeing Blog for November!
This month we are talking about Brainfood.
Brains are the hardest workers in our body. Think about it - your brain is always “on.” It is taking care of our thoughts, movements, breathing, heartbeat, and senses, even when we are sleeping. They work 24/7, which means they need a constant supply of fuel.
We know that our diet directly affects our bodily health. Just like our bodies, our brain's function can alter depending on what fuel we are giving it. Studies have shown that poor quality diets are a strong factor in impaired brain function, and contribute to stress, mood disorders (e.g., depression), poor sleep health and trouble focusing.
Eating high quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will nourish the brain and improve our cognitive function – which means more effective studying!
Have a look below to see what the best ‘brainfoods’ are, some recipes to try and some resources to visit if you would like to know more!
10 FOODS TO BOOST YOUR BRAINPOWER
- Can reduce anxiety and stress!
Vitamin C is known to have power to increase mental agility. Research suggests that a deficiency could link to age-related brain degeneration including dementia and Alzheimer’s. Studies also demonstrate that vitamin C is helpful managing anxiety and stress. One of the best sources of this vital vitamin are oranges. Others include red peppers, broccoli & blackcurrants.
2. Pumpkin seeds
Can enhance memory and boost mood!
Pumpkin seeds are an incredibly reliable source of zinc. Zinc is a valuable mineral which is vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills. Other useful food sources to enhance your memory & mood include beef, oysters, chickpeas, and nuts including cashews and almonds.
- 3. Broccoli
- Can improve brainpower!
- If you are battling forgetfulness and absent mindedness daily, you should try eating some broccoli! This green veggie is known to have Anti amnesic properties, which work towards preserving your memory. Broccoli is also a major source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.
- 4. Sage
- Can boost memory and concentration!
- Sage is known for improving memory and concentration. Although most studies focus on sage as an essential oil, you can easily add fresh sage to your diet too - you could add some crispy sage to any homemade soup!
- 5. Mixed nuts
- Can help protect healthy brain function!
- Nuts are full of vitamin E which helps to prevent cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly. Nuts make a convenient, portable snack on their own. Avoid brands with unhealthy additives, like sugar and salt – these add calories and sodium. The best nuts to include in your diet for brain health are raw or dry roasted.
Can improve concentration and focus!
Like everything else in your body, the brain needs energy to function. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from an adequate and steady supply of energy (usually from the glucose in our blood). You can achieve this by choosing wholegrains which have a low-GI - this means they release their energy slowly into the bloodstream, which keeps you mentally alert throughout the day. Not eating enough healthy carbs like wholegrains, can lead to brain fog and irritability. We suggest choosing ‘brown’ wholegrains – like granary bread, brown rice, and brown pasta.
- 7. Oily fish
Can promote healthy brain function!
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body which means they must be obtained through food. The most effective are omega-3 fats that occur naturally in oily fish. These fats are important for healthy brain function, the heart, joints, and our general well-being.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, you may want to consider a plant-based omega-3 supplement, especially those who expecting or breast feeding - as omega-3 fats play an especially significant role in the development of the central nervous system of your baby.
- 8. Blueberries
Can boost short-term memory!
The consumption of blueberries can be effective in improving or delaying short-term memory loss. Other dark red and purple fruits, like blackberries, and vegetables like red cabbage, also hold the same benefits as blueberries this is because they all contain the same protective compounds called anthocyanins.
- 9. Tomatoes
Can prevent free radical damage!
There is a lot of evidence out there that suggests lycopene - a powerful antioxidant is found in tomatoes. Lycopene, could help protect damage to cells linked to the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Other foods supplying this include - papaya, watermelon, and pink grapefruit.
- 10. Eggs
Can delay brain shrinkage!
Eggs are an excellent source of B vitamins, including B6, B12 and folic acid. These are known to reduce levels of a compound called homocysteine in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with the increased risk of stroke, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Other B-rich foods include, chicken, fish, leafy greens, and dairy. If you are vegan, look for fortified foods - including plant milks and breakfast cereals. Other useful vegan sources of B vitamins, include nutritional yeast, avocado, soya, nuts, and seeds.
BRAIN BOOSTING RECIPES
‘The super breakfast smoothie’
X1 small handful of oats
X1 cup frozen blueberries
X1 frozen banana
Approx. 5 pitted dates
A big dollop of Greek yoghurt
Squeeze of honey
1 teaspoon of natural nut butter (we suggest almond!)
Few chia seeds to garnish!
Pop all ingredients into a blender, blend & enjoy!
‘The super boost salad’
(3 – 4 servings)
250g baby spinach
A handful of fresh strawberries (hulled and sliced)
100g crumbled feta cheese
X 1 small red onion - thinly sliced
X 1 cup of nuts – (we recommend walnuts or pecans!)
‘Our super boost dressing’
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the ‘Super salad dressing’ - Add vinegar to a small saucepan, bring to a boil until reduced by half.
Pour into a bowl - add olive oil, dijon mustard & honey - whisk to blend while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Thin with a little water if desired.
For the salad:
- In a large bowl toss together spinach, strawberries, half of the feta, red onion, and nuts.
- Drizzle about 1/3 of the dressing over salad.
- Plate up and drizzle remaining dressing over individual portions.
- Top with remaining feta.
- Serve & enjoy!
RESOURCES FOR MORE INFO:
- 2. Brain Food: How to Eat Smart and Sharpen Your Mind - eBook - Mosconi, Lisa: Amazon.com.au: Kindle Store
- 3. Medical Medium Cleanse to Heal: Healing Plans for Sufferers of Anxiety, Depression, Acne, Eczema, Lyme, Gut Problems, Brain Fog, Weight Issues, ... Fibroids, UTI, Endometriosis & Autoimmune - Book - William, Anthony: Amazon.com.au: Books
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All the best!