On some days our muscle memory can feel stronger than our mental memory. The foods we eat can have a massive impact on the structure and health of the brain. Here are my recommendations for a brain boosting diet so you can sound as sharp as you look.
When it comes to our health we often focus on our weight and other parts of our body such as the heart and lungs. Many of us forget to consider the effect that eating has on our brain. The brain uses twenty percent of our daily energy intake so what you put in your mouth matters. We need enough glucose from quality carbohydrate to avoid feeling tired, vague and weak.
A decent breakfast and eating regularly throughout the day help sustain focus. Remember, not to overdo the carbohydrate though. Once your blood glucose is within the normal range then eating more won’t help you remember that email. Try a coffee as caffeine boosts alertness by blocking adenosine which makes us feel sleepy. It also increases brain entropy which helps process information.
Purple vegetables are an asset to your intellect. Purple potato, cabbage and eggplant are true brain food. They assist with short and long term memory. Add them to a casserole or stir-fry or cook up potato crisps in the oven to eat during the day. Nuts are also good food for thought. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews and sunflower seeds are a great snack to have on hand or add them to cereal or salad
Another way to be a clever clog is to eat up all your cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, cabbage, bok choy and dark leafy greens. Add kale to your sandwich or wrap and toss vegetables into your stir fry or salad for dinner. Regular consumption of green vegetables has been shown to help the brain process information and improve memory recall.
Berries contain flavonoids and anthocyanins which boost memory function. The darker the better so grab a handful of blackberries, blueberries or cherries to have at your desk. You can also mix them into your cereal or yoghurt, make a smoothie or bake them as a healthy dessert. Frozen berries can be just as good as fresh ones as they’re frozen at their nutritional peak.
The most abundant fatty acid in the brain is docosahexaenoic (DHA). This is part of the omega-3 group found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and herring. If you have higher levels of DHA in the blood then your brain will operate more efficiently. Grill or bake fish for dinner or enjoy a tuna sandwich or salmon on your salad. A supplement can be effective if you don’t eat fish.
Remember, there are foods to avoid if you want to be smart. Trans fats in processed and fried foods have been shown to affect cognitive function. These bad fats replace the healthy omega-3 ones needed by the brain. Alcohol causes short term memory loss and common sense tells us that our IQ will not reach genius levels if we binge drink regularly. Dehydration will also make you feel sleepy so drink plenty of water.
You create your own upper story by the foods you choose to eat. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, fish and nuts and wash it down with water and the occasional coffee. Once you make up your mind to follow a memory boosting diet it will become a habit you never forget.