Boost your Brain Power

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WEEK 1 AUGUST 2011

How did you go with the multitasking exercise last week?  To further boost your productivity, here are my top ten nutrition tips to increase your brain power and a few foods you should avoid too!

1   Increase water intake. Our brain is about 85% water and thus the first rule of brain nutrition is adequate water to hydrate your brain. Aim for about 2 litres a day. When dehydrated, the level of energy generated in the brain decreases, leading to depression, fatigue and headaches.
2   The primary source of power to the brain is oxygen. Detoxify to clear your capillaries and open the highway to your brain. Eats lots of raw fruit and vegetables and green smoothies are great too. This will help nourish your brain with essential nutrients and antioxidants and protect it from daily free radical assaults.

3   Eat fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and swordfish or sardines. The fish oil contains essential fatty compounds Omega 3, DHA and EPA that play a critical role in brain development as well as improving memory, learning ability and metal capacity.4   Eat foods high in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect all your cells and stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Foods high in antioxidants include: prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, garlic, kale, cranberries, strawberries, spinach, and raspberries.

5  Snack on berries for a great afternoon snack. Berries are rich in anthocyanins, compounds that slow cognitive decline and help you stay sharp. Blueberries are great. Blackcurrants are also excellent and a great source of Vitamin C which has long been thought to have the power to increase mental agility.

6   Ginkgo biloba stimulates brain circulation and memory.

7   Spinach and Broccoli. Spinach feeds the brain vital nutrients and enzymes that it needs to strengthen synapses and produce healthy levels of neurotransmitters as well as great source of folic acid. Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.

8   Enjoy some seeds
Sunflower seeds – a perfect salad topper is packed with memory-preserving vitamin E and folic acid, which offer significant protection from cognitive decline.
Pumpkin seeds: Just a handful a day is all you need. The zinc is  vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills.
Flaxseeds are another excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
 

9   Relax with a cup of green tea. It will help boost mental power and protect the brain from toxins and free radicals. It also helps ward off fatigue and improve concentration. 

10   Nuts that have minerals and amino acids that are beneficial to the brain include almonds, walnuts and brazil nuts. Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants and have been found to improve learning and comprehension as well as brain-to-muscle communication in aging, and lower stress-signaling molecules known as cytokines, resulting in decreased inflammation in the brain.

What to Avoid 
1.   Avoid sugar. Any simple carbohydrates can give you ‘brain fog’ that sluggish feeling makes it hard to think clearly. Avoid pasta, sugars, white bread and potato chips before any important mental tasks.  Stay away from sweet cereals, lollies, or sodas. They cause blood sugar fluctuation, which leads to insulin insensitivity which is believed to be the main cause of an inefficient supply of energy to the brain.2    Avoid eating big meals during the day. They slow you down, and make you feel exhausted or sluggish.

 

3   Suspect Foods. There is evidence that the following foods can be bad for your brain: Artificial food colourings, artificial sweeteners, colas, corn syrup, frostings, high-sugar drinks, hydrogenated fats, sugars, white bread, and any white-flour products.  Saturated fats have been shown to actually stunt the growth of brain cells. 

4   Avoid binge drinking. Excessive alcohol is toxic and slows down your brain cell activity.

Next week I will give you a few other brain power tips to help you too.   Have a great week.

Bon Appétit

Ann
Ann Quinn, Ph.D Peak Performance Specialist


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