Off late are you hearing about brain foods and dietary supplements? You believe that they can do everything from enhancing memory, brain function & attention span and sharpen focus. But the question is do they really work? Our body ages as we age and there is no denying this fact. You can actually maintain a healthy brain by adding the smart foods and drinks to your diet.
Caffeine for Alertness
One thing to remember is that there is no magic food that can make you smarter or boost your IQ. But certain substances present in food and drinks like caffeine can energize you and improve your concentration. Caffeine actually provides a wake-up buzz and is found in chocolate, coffee, energy drinks and some medications as well. But the effects are only for short period. Always remember more is often less i.e. consuming more caffeine can make you uncomfortable and jittery.
Sugars can enhance alertness
Not your table sugar but glucose is your preferred fuel source of the brain. Your body processes glucose from the carbs and sugars you eat. That’s the reason a glass of fruit juice offers a boost to your thinking, memory and mental ability. Having too much though can impair your memory. As sugar is related to heart disorders and other health conditions, it is best to go easy on added sugar.
Do not skip breakfast
Do you skip breakfast often? Some research suggests that eating your breakfast can improve your short term attention and memory. Students having breakfast tend to perform better than others who skip. High fiber whole grains, fruits and dairy are the foods that top the researcher’s brain foods list. Again do not over eat as breakfast with high calories may hinder concentration as per some studies.
Fish tops the list of brain foods
Fish is a protein source, rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are good for brain health.These are actually healthy fats that can enhance your brain power. Also a diet with higher levels of them is found to lower stroke risks and dementia and slower mental decline. As we get older, they play an important role in enhancing memory. Eat two servings of fish weekly for heart and brain health.
Nuts and Chocolates
Vitamin E an antioxidant as per some studies was found to lower cognitive decline as you age. Vitamin E is present in nuts and seeds. Antioxidant properties are also present in dark chocolate and it contains caffeine which is a natural stimulant. Caffeine helps to enhance focus. You can have an ounce of nuts and dark chocolate a day to enjoy all the benefits you want.
Whole Grains and Avocados
Blood flow is important for every organ in the body especially the brain and heart. A diet rich in fruits like avocados and whole grains lowers the chances of heart disease as well as lowers bad cholesterol. This in turn prevents buildup of plaque and improves blood flow. Even though avocados contain fat, they are mono-unsaturated fats that helps with healthy blood flow and hence good for you. Some whole grains like whole wheat and popcorn also provide vitamin E and dietary fiber.
Super Nutritious Blueberries
Studies on animals show that blueberries can reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and also protects the brain from damage due to free radicals. Studies on rats indicate that blueberries rich diet can improve both muscle function and learning making the aging rats mentally equal to the younger rats.
Well Balanced Diet
If essential nutrients are not present in your diet, then it can hurt your ability to concentrate. Eating too much or eating too little, either ways can interfere with your focus. Having very few calories may result in hunger pangs which are distracting while a heavy meal makes you feel tired. Hence for the benefit of your brain, eat a well balanced diet consisting of a wide range of healthy foods.
Prep up for a big day
Do you want to improve your ability to concentrate? Start your day with a healthy breakfast consisting of 100% fruit juice, a whole grain bagel along with salmon and a cup of coffee. Experts advice the following along with a well balanced diet:
- Drink lots of water
- Have a good night’s sleep
- Do meditation for clear thinking and relaxation
- Exercise to sharpen your thinking