In recent years, scientists have discovered an interesting connection between brain function and food intake. Eating specific foods can have a wonderful impact on your ability to concentrate and focus. A diet rich in certain fruits, veggies and whole grains can help you maintain brain health well into your 90's.
The Healthy Brain Diet
If nutrition plays a crucial role in brain health, what are some brain foods to help keep you focused?
- Dairy Products
- Tofu and Soy Products
- Nuts and seeds (especially walnuts)
- Strawberries & Blackberries
- Raspberries & Blueberries
- Oranges & Grapefruits
- Lemons & Limes
- Peaches & Plums
- Broccoli & Cauliflower
- Spinach & Tomatoes
- Yams & Beans
- Nuts and Nut Butter (especially pecans, almonds and macadamia nuts)
- Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
What about Caffeine?
Caffeine is a stimulant that many people rely on to feel alert, especially in the morning. They feel more focused after having caffeine and many believe it helps them process information more rapidly. The problem with this method of increasing brain focus is that over long periods caffeine can become addictive and ultimately inhibit brain function. Your brain may cultivate a need for the drug in order to get you going.
Many studies have illustrated that dietary intake of antioxidants can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment development. Scientist engaged in these studies because free radical formation was believed to have a significant impact on brain deterioration over time. When a cell converts oxygen into energy, tiny molecules called free radicals are made.
Free radicals work to rid the body of harmful toxins, when produced in normal amounts. This keeps the body healthy. But, free radicals can damage the body's cellular machinery, resulting in cell death and tissue damage, when produced in toxic amounts. This process is called oxidative stress. The production of free radicals is inhibited by beta carotene, Vitamin E and Vitamin C.
More Magnesium & Vitamin B
The brain is protected from neurotoxins by magnesium. A neurotoxin is a toxin that acts specifically on nerve cells, causing nerve damage. As a result, before and during brain surgery, some surgeons give extra magnesium to their patients. Scientist tells us that nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens and whole grains are great sources of magnesium.
B vitamins are instrumental in the formation of chemicals in the brain such as dopamine, serotonin and epinephrine. Recent studies show links between inadequate levels of B-12 and B-6 and declines in memory, among the elderly. beef, pork, fish, veal and poultry are good sources of B-12.
Water, Water, Water
Because your brain is about 80% water, proper water intake can have a superb effect on mental clarity and well-being. Stress hormones are raised as a result of dehydration and can damage your brain over time. It is recommended that you drink 64 ounces per day. It is best to drink pure liquid that is not polluted by artificial sweeteners, alcohol, sugar or caffeine. Herbal teas are a great way to add variety to your daily water intake. Green tea is also good for mental alertness.
If you've been feeling sluggish or cloudy, your brain may be running on fumes. Fish, fruits and nuts are packed with the power to renew your focus. We all know that eating healthy supports physical strength. Now, we see these same foods have been found to produce a stronger, clearer mind.