Add these foods into your diet to boost your brain with zen-like concentration…
As you mull over your tax returns your brain greedily chews through calories. But it’s a very picky eater so those croissants won’t help you find the extra deductions. By eating the right nutrients you’ll think quicker, get an elephantine memory and improve your concentration without having to bury your snout in books. Here are the best foods to help you flex your grey matter.
Don’t revere blueberries solely for their antioxidant levels. The boffs at Tufts University in the US found that snacking on these superfoods everyday slowed, even reversed, age-related brain decline, as well as improved short-term memory. Add one to two cups of blueberries to your diet each day or drink unsweetened blueberry juice.
Bean working all day
Scoff your way to genius by eating baked beans for brekkie. Research at the University of Ulster discovered that eating toast alone boosted scores on cognitive tests, but when the tests got tougher, toast and beans got the best scores. The beans are also rich in fibre and protein which gives your brain a long lasting energy supply.
Roll out the pizzas because tomatoes harbour the powerful antioxidant, lycopene. In addition to fending off prostate cancer it boosts cognitive ability, according to research in the Journal of Gerontology. It’s also rich in vitamin C, which is used to make the neurotransmitters vital for securing you more answers in the pub quiz. Eat one a day – Bloody Marys don’t count.
Yoghurt’s rich in vitamin B12 – the mechanic of your nervous system which repairs any damage to your nerves. This vitamin also helps your brain absorb energy from food and a deficiency is linked to depression and poor memory. Lathering your breakfast cereal with two small cups will give you half of your RDA of B12.
Chocolate gets a bad rep by running with a bad crowd, namely sugar and fats. But the cacao bean itself is a powerhouse of cognitive enhancement. It contains serotonin, tryptophan, anandamide and dopamine which all have a positive effect on your brain’s chemistry by promoting an overall sense of well-being and leave your thoughts sharper then a two-edged sword. Cram in a few blocks a day.
Happy to rise
When we say get some cereal down you, we don’t mean Sugar Puffs but anything with whole grains. These are fortified with vitamin E, which a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found helps to prevent goldfish-like memory. They are also a good source of serotonin, the chemical responsible for pleasure – a happy brain is a more efficient brain.
They resemble our brains for good reason. Rich in protein, nuts also have high concentrations of omega-3s, vitamin E and serotonin. A recent study found that a diet that included walnuts improved people’s mental abilities and fought off Alzheimer’s disease. Eat one to two handfuls a day to keep your nut in nick.
Water delivers nutrients to your brain while dehydration prevents your brain circuitry from speeding in top gear. A study at Leeds University proved this by discovering that schoolchildren with the best results in class were those who drank up to eight glasses of water a day. Drink at least two litres of water every day to keep your thoughts ‘lubed’ for performance.
It’s no secret that the omega-3s in salmon boost brain power, but munching the wild version could mean the difference between being the dunce or the dux. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that farmed salmon have two to three times fewer fatty acids than their wild counterparts. Your noggin is made of 60% fat and a lack of omega-3s can lead to depression, a Honey Monster-battling low IQ, learning disabilities, dyslexia and ADD. Get plenty of this fat for the skinny on getting smart.
The British Empire was won and lost on cups of tea for a good reason. Researchers from the University of Innsbruck in Austria found that the caffeine in two cups of coffee increased brain activity in the memory-rich frontal lobe and the attention-controlling anterior cingulum. The best decisions really are made with a brew in hand.
Right said egg
Eggs are rich in the proteins used to make neurotransmitters – your brain’s messenger boys. They are also rich in choline which researchers at Boston University found enhances memory and minimises mental fatigue. Other studies found that low levels of this chemical are linked with Alzheimer’s disease. Crack onto at least two eggs a day to break your brain out of its shell.
Avocados are on par with blueberries at boosting your grey matter. They are extremely rich in all the nutrients needed to be your neighbourhood Einstein. They also lower blood pressure which is good because high blood pressure makes your cognitive abilities decline. If you’re after one fruit for a hole-in-one brain injection then ’ave an avo each day.
Go for beans on toast in the morning. The iron in the beans will help stop that afternoon crash. Gym pain? Eggs are the answer: they contain choline, a nutrient vital for reducing inflammation.