Wheaties may be the ‘Breakfast of Champions” but there are better foods to put on your plate if you’re to win at intellectual pursuits.
Predictably, my friends who overindulge in junk foods laugh at the notion of a food-brain power connection. In my estimation, if they would concede the point that what you put in the stomach has tremendous impact on the mind, they may just refrain from ingesting empty calories. No, it’s easier to stuff one’s face with non-foods than embrace the heady idea that food can really be mind-altering.
In truth, there are brain power foods that can make the dendrites and axons fire on all cylinders.
Hungry to Reinvigorate Your Brain?
In today’s fast-paced world, there is only so much multitasking we can do. Many of us are overwhelmed with responsibilities, and simply lack focus to complete the task at hand.
Others report failing memory, slower processing times, and lack of concentration. Some people simply believe declining mental faculties are just a rite of passage.
But you need not lament and cry in the bedroom about limited or declining mental acuity and performance when the answer to your brain fog can be as close as the kitchen.
Indeed, enhanced brain power may simply be attainable by planning the right meals. Eat right, think well, and your IQ may just swell.
While there are contradictory studies on the value of certain foods (soy, for instance is a very controversial food), there are certain absolute ‘dream foods’ when it comes to jumpstarting the good, old brain.
But first, as Hippocrates once said, ‘Do no harm.” My friends (both offline and online), it’s time to discard as many processed foods as you can. These are often devoid of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide brain stimulation.
Sadly, processed foods drain your brain, especially the ones sweetened with sugar. I know, I know, you’ve heard the evils of sugar before. However, most health articles typically discuss its adverse physical effects. Consequently, in my ‘Brain Power Foods’ article, I want to stress sugar’s enmity towards the brain.
Consider a recent UCLA study conducted with rats. Those unlucky creatures who were provided with an only-fructose diet had a lot more trouble navigating a maze that their counterparts who were provided with fructose and omega 3 acids.
Alright, so you’re dismissing this study because it was done on rats. How about the report by the University of London who studied 4,000 Scottish children, ages 3-5. Those who ate processed foods, loaded with sugar, had lower IQ’s (on average) than those who ate freshly-cooked meals.
So genius wannabe, it’s time to just say no to cake, muffins, croissants, and any food that can be categorized as junk, and replace them with brain power foods that will be easier to intellectually digest, in the long run.
It’s time to Reveal 10 Power Foods That Will Blow Your Mind .. in a Good Way
In my research and experience, I narrowed down the ‘top ten’ brain foods. They’re listed below but not in any order of precedence or effectiveness.
1. Blueberries – My grandson is on the autism spectrum and I’m always loading his plate with sweet, delicious blueberries. Sure, they have more natural fructose than other fruits, but they reduce neurodegenerative oxidative stress, helping the body to detoxify and repair, and perhaps help prevent death of brain neurons.
In a study with rats (and don’t dismiss it), blueberries helped aging rats in expanding learning capacity and motor skills. It may very well do the same with humans.
2. Avocado – Rich in monounsaturated fat, the brain-friendly avocado seems very worthwhile for the brain and the heart. It lowers blood pressure which actually has a positive impact on cognitive abilities. It’s a healthy staple for all organs, and encourages blood flow, making it a very smart dietary choice.
3. Celery – Grab that stick of celery because it contains an abundance of luteolin. This important flavone, a type of flavonoid, puts the kibosh on brain inflammation – often a cause of neurodegenarion. Whenever you perform an intellectually-challenging task, rely on this ally.
4. Whole grains – Whole wheat, brown rice, and oats should be a part of your diet. It’s all about blood flow. The more blood that reaches and nourishes the brain, the better your memory and learning capabilities. Fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, like Vitamin E, work synergistically together to get the brain blood pumping and circulating.
5. Nuts and seeds – Get your peanuts here. Even better, get some almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, and pistachios on your plate, too. They’re loaded with brain-boosting Vitamin E and fight cardiovascular disease, too.
Walnuts, a source of brain-stimulating omega 3 fats are particularly praised for their ability to fight oxidative stress. They truly have the potential to improve cognitive and motor functioning.
I’m convinced that the better condition of your heart, the more likely your brain optimally functions The key: blood flow … but you’ve heard about that before.
6. Broccoli and cauliflower – Always try to add a helping heap of these vegetables, loaded with choline (part of the Vitamin B family). Brain development depends on choline so adding it naturally through the diet shows and maintains intelligence.
Broccoli, in particular, may be one of the healthiest foods to consume. It aids in detoxification processes and serves as an anti-inflammatory agent, safeguarding the brain’s ability to reason and recall.
7. Tumeric – It contains the neuroprotective antioxidant, curcumin, which actually crosses the blood-brain barrier. Curcumin provides many pro-brain benefits. For example, it breaks up existing plaque and beta amyloids, thought to contribute to conditions such as Alzheimer’s. In may also increase neural stem cell growth in the brain although more clinical research (using human subjects) on this matter should be performed.
You need to digest turmeric that contains a lot of curcumin. Curry may not be the best choice as the amount of curcumin may be limited.
8. Salmon – Fish, in general, is considered brain food. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other types of fish are high in omega 3 fats and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In the brain, DHA is indispensable for protecting neurons. Remember, it’s when neurons lose their ability to function normally that cognitive ability becomes compromised. Alzheimer’s and Dementia are thought to more readily occur because of impaired brain neurons.
Omega 3 foods, such as Alaskan salmon, improve working memory and motor control. Fish admirably preserve brain functioning and performance.
9. Eggs – Let’s see if your short-term memory is intact. Remember, choline is correlated with brain power. It serves to enhance memory and communication among brain cells. Egg yolks are a rich source of choline, which in turn, makes acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, that helps the brain to survive and thrive.
10. Wine and champagne – Sorry, I’m not encouraging excessive alcohol consumption. However, I’m suggesting moderate consumption of wine and champagne can help improve the mind.
Red wine contains EGCG, an antioxidant which may prevent beta-amyloid proteins from destroying brain cells. Antioxidants, also present in wine and champagne, seem to block proteins that contribute to harmful brain plaque.
Supplement Your Brain Power Foods
Eating the above foods will go a long way towards strengthening cognitive reasoning and processing. And while you’re eating thoughtfully, there are several strategies you need to embrace to maximize your grey matter.
Here are some quick ways to improve mental agility:
a) Growth promoting fertilizer in the brain can germinate with long walks. You’re taking in your surroundings and constantly processing information about what you see.
b) Engage the nucleus basalis, a creative part of the brain, by learning a new dance or language. Any challenging new mental activity will stretch your capacity to learn and your imagination.
c) Enhance neuroplasticity by getting yourself involved in brain games, such as crossword puzzles. Your neural pathways and synapses will be empowered, sharpening the signals your brain picks up.
d) Get ample rest and sleep – While you’re asleep, your brain cells virtually open up, removing toxic buildup and waste in the brain. Connections between neurons also get stronger, reinforcing recent learning.
e) Supplement your brain power foods – Certain supplements are specifically formulated to sharpen the mind. Cognimaxx XL, for example, is one supplement that enhances brain health and function.
Rethinking the Hardwired Brain
We’re not just born with a cap on our cognitive abilities that we can’t transcend. Our genes do not singularly dictate the level of our intelligence.
We can grow brighter by implementing the above strategies. Start by eating smart, consuming an abundance of brain power foods.