When you think about the benefits of a good and healthy diet, you are more than likely thinking about the reducing effects on your waistline. However, weight loss is not the only good thing about eating healthily. When you adopt a healthy eating lifestyle, you will also find that your brain’s cognitive function improves too. For instance, think of your body as a car, and the food that you eat as the gas that powers it. Premium gas will make your vehicle drive faster, but it is the engine under the hood that benefits too – the higher-octane gas makes your engine work more efficiently and helps to avoid engine wear and tear.
Whether you wish to improve your brain’s ability to remember things for an upcoming exam, or you just want to be sharp for an important business meeting, here are 4 food groups that can help to boost your memory, concentration and thinking.
Your ability to concentrate is reliant upon a steady and dependable source of energy. Low-Gi wholegrains release glucose slowly to the brain throughout the day. Eat brown wholegrain cereals and breads, rice and pasta. By fueling up with wholegrains, you will manage to avoid the highs and lows associated with eating sugar-rich foods.
2. Fruit and Vegetable Juices
Research from Vanderbilt University found that drinking fruit and vegetable juices three times a week can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and offers some protection against neurodegenerative disease. The juices are rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are effective in improving memory and delaying short-term memory loss. You can make your own concoctions at home to your personal taste, and visit an organic juice bart for further inspiration.
The humble egg is a great source of the B vitamins – B6, B12 and folic acid, and as such, they are found to reduce the presence of homocysteine which causes cognitive impairment. The egg whites are rich sources of selenium, zinc, iron and copper, and depending on what the chickens have been fed on, also can contain omega-3 fatty acids, which is imperative for optimized brain function.
4. Seeds and Nuts
Rather than snacking on sugar-laden treats, reach for seeds and nuts to boost your brain’s function. Top of the list of brain-boosting nuts is the walnut. Walnuts have a high concentration of DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid, which in turn boosts your concentration. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which is an important mineral for enhancing memory and thinking skills.
While these foods can benefit and boost your brain function, there are foods that act as a brain drain. Avoid refined and processed foods; they are easy to get hold of and may be a time-saving alternative to healthier foods, but that instant sugar rush depletes your energy quickly and can leave you in a slump. Your brain needs healthy fats to perform at its best, and trans fats found in French fries or fried chicken are not the fats that are good for your health and wellbeing and can seriously impact on your health: raised cholesterol, an increase of heart attack, etc. Eat well, and your body and brain will thank you for it.