Food for Thought, Literally
As we all know, in order to be successful in business, it is essential to be able to focus and concentrate.
What we choose to ingest has a huge impact on how our brain functions. Eating what we refer to as “brain foods” has been proven to increase brain performance, memory and clarity. The typical human brain weighs only 3 pounds, however, it uses 20% of your daily caloric intake. A human brain needs a lot of nutrition to keep it functioning properly.
Getting your nutrition from brain food provides your brain with carbohydrates for energy, proteins to create brain chemicals, and fats to build healthy brain cells. Brain foods also provide the nutrients needed to create new brain cells and protect and repair existing ones. When most people think of “brain foods” they may envision hard-to-find superfoods such as the fruit “Mangosteen,” however, many brain foods are actually very commonly found in your local food store or market. Let’s take a look at some of the best brain foods that are easily accessible and equally delicious and good for powering your brain to tackle your day.
Beets – This root vegetable contains natural nitrates, which increase blood flow to the brain, thereby improving mental performance.
Sage – Containing compounds that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning. This herb has also long had a reputation for improving memory.
Oily Fish – Essential fatty acids cannot be made by the body and must be obtained through diet. Fish packed with omega-3 fatty acids bolster communication among brain cells and help regulate neurotransmitters responsible for mental focus. The main sources of oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, and sardines.
Eggs, specifically egg yolks – Eggs still endure a bad rap for being high in cholesterol, but they are actually a brain food thanks to their yolks containing choline which is a precursor for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in short term memory production. Eating protein-rich foods like eggs for breakfast can improve overall cognitive performance.
Whole-grain Oats – The primary fuel for your brain is glucose, which comes from carbohydrates such as those abundant in oats. Since your body breaks down the carbs in whole-grain oats very slowly, they help keep your brain functions sharp for several hours. Opt for brown cereals, wheatbran, granary bread, and brown pasta.
Lentils – Packed with folate, a B-Vitamin shown to help boost brainpower, this Legume plays a role in decreasing levels of amino acid that can impair brain function.
Flaxseed – Contain the very best source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a healthy fat that improves the workings to the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain that processes sensory information like touch and taste.
Nuts – The synergy found in nuts (specifically walnuts) between antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids assist in boosting brain function. Also found in nuts is a great source of Vitamin-E.
Olive Oil – As a great source of monounsaturated fats, olive oil is actually shown to slow brain aging. Also containing Vitamin-E, olive oil helps to protect neurons.
Dark Leafy Vegetables – Kale, collard greens, and broccoli are good sources for Vitamin-E and folate.
Dark Chocolate – Rich in antioxidants, dark chocolate is not only healthy for your brain but for your whole body. It is also rich in flavonoids, a class of antioxidant that helps to improve blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate also contains natural stimulants such as caffeine, which enhances focus and concentration, and stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps to improve mood.
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