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Top Brain Foods

Further to the post on Monday called Food For the Brain, here’s a video explaining a few more top brain foods. Our brains are affected by what we eat much more so than you probably imagine. Here, the narrator talks about the necessity for our brains to have Choline – a nutrient that helps to transfer messages between nerves in our brains, and also magnesium which helps people to relax and avoid migraines. [Read more…]

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Food For The Brain

Food For The BrainHave you ever wondered why you experience a “food coma” after certain foods you eat? Have you ever felt really energized? Have you ever felt de-energised or sluggish an hour or so after treating yourself to a chocolate bar or something sweet like a soda drink? Have you noticed that sometimes caffeine has little or no effect on your state of mind at certain times during the day? [Read more…]

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7 Foods That Can Help Boost Your Focus

We’ve all heard the saying ‘we are what we eat’. This rings true as much for our minds as it does for the rest of our body and vital organs. Here are 7 foods that can help boost your focus created by Amy Paturel for the Huffington Post. As far as I’m aware, through no fault of their own, very few people understand the importance of nutrition for our minds. If they did, they wouldn’t eat such cr*p! I’ve probably just alienated a few people but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. In fact, the majority of what we find in our supermarkets does not provide much quality nutrition at all. Check out this article to see an easy to read slideshow of foods that are great for our brains and therefore focus.

Brain FoodThe trick, says Patricia Bannan, M.S., R.D., author of Eat Right When Time is Tight, is fueling your body with foods that enhance focus, memory and concentration. Most of these gems are chock full of nutrients like fiber (which keeps you satisfied so you’re not thinking about hunger pangs) and essential fatty acids (which smooth connections in the brain).

Continue reading full article here

These 7 foods than can help boost your focus are congruent with my understanding of what our brain needs to function. Our brain needs essential fatty acids from foods such as avocados and and eggs. They’re called essential fatty acids as our body cannot produce them; we have to make a conscious effort to actually consume these daily. Fatty acids form the membranes surrounding brain cells, through which oxygen, glucose and antioxidants pass in and metabolic waste passes out. Our brain cells need them to produce brain cells. What wasn’t mentioned in these brain foods was complex carbohydrates to provide the brain with glucose – it’s key fuel. For more information on the right sorts of carbohydrates for our brain, see this article here.

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Ways To Focus By Consuming Brain Foods

Very few people are aware of how our minds are affected by what we eat. Did you know that our brains weigh about 3 pounds, but they consume about 20 percent of your daily calories? These ways to focus by consuming brain foods are well worth a read if you’d like to make better choices about your diet in order to improve focus, concentration, and memory and also which foods to eat to help to prevent mental decline.

Ways To Focus By Consuming Brain Foods

Brain FoodConcentrate on these foods

Good concentration skills depend on a steady flow of messages between brain cells.  The first step in improving concentration and focus is by eating healthy food at regular intervals throughout the day.

The brain also needs myelin, a fatty substance that insulates the nerve fibers so signals can be more easily sent from one brain cell to another. These nerve fibers are like electrical wires in a well-oiled machine.

You can do your part by eating healthier and keeping the “machinery” of your brain in top shape.

A diet that includes myelin includes oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin and flax seeds. So don’t skip meals, pack snacks with seeds and nuts and you’re on your way to improving your concentration.

Continue reading full original article

Did anything surprise you from these ways to focus by consuming brain foods? A lot of this nutritional information has been featured on this site, but this was the first time I’ve read about Acetylcholine as being  the “messenger” – in that it keeps our brain cells on high alert for new information. It’s found in eggs, liver and soybeans. Other memory boosters include vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower – the cruciferous family.

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Ways To Focus With Superfoods

We are what we eat, and that’s just as true for our brains as it is for the rest of our body and vital organs. Here are some ways to focus with superfoods from the Huggington Post. The Huffington Post actually called it Brain Food: Superfoods to improve cognitive function. There are a number of foods that have been proven to improve brain function, encourage focus and also to protect against age-related cognitive decline.  These include walnuts, olive oil, berries, sardines, coffee, spinach, avocados, water, wheat germ, beetroots, garlic, dark chocolate (yes really), and ice-cream (not really).

Ways To Focus With Superfoods

Superfoods For Your BrainBut before you dismiss the diet-brain connection as mere conjecture, keep in mind that study after study has found a relationship between what we put in our mouths and how well we can perform important thinking and memory tasks. While certain nutrients may specifically assist brain function, there is also the totality of our diets to consider. One recent U.K. study found that a diet high in saturated fat actually caused damage to neurons that control energy and appetite in mice. And several well-regarded studies have shown that meal timing is an important predictor of performance. For example, research shows that eating breakfast can improve the memory and acquisition skills of schoolchildren.

Click here to view the SlideShow on Huffington Post

Can you think of any more ways to focus with superfoods? This is a great list but not exhaustive  – there are additional foods including other types of nuts, whole oats (porridge), and other slow digesting carbohydrates, milk, yogurt and other dairy products. Again, there are plenty more that are featured on this site under the Food For Focus category.

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Food For Focus

Do you ever consider how your choice of breakfast can have an impact on your mind and ability to focus? Or more importantly so, your child’s ability to concentrate at school? This article, which I’ve renamed food for focus is an important read for any parent. In fact, even if you’re not a parent, the content is well worth digesting.

Food For Focus

Food For Focus

The sugary cereal gives your children an immediate boost in energy, so don’t be surprised if they are jumping up and down in the back of your car and running around like mad in the playground but then, what you tend not to see, but teachers report, are the carbohydrate crashes your children experience just as they are entering the classroom door – dips in energy caused by the body running out of the quick burn sugary carbohydrates, leaving them feeling irritable, tired, hungry and moody, all considerably affecting their ability to concentrate.

Keeping these sugary cereals away from the breakfast table and replacing with porridge mixed with something like Udo’s Oil, a source of polyunsaturated fats that provide a stable, slow burn source of energy that keeps them feeling fuller for longer and maintains their energy levels in the classroom allowing them to concentrate.

Click here to view the whole article

Now that’s food for focus. I think it’s shocking how there’s so much advertising for really sugary and unhealthy breakfast cereals like Coco pops, Chrunchy Nut Cornflakes, Frosties, Rice Crispies etc, which really don’t do anyone any good. I used to eat those types of cereals as a kid – no wonder I had difficulties concentrating. Having recently taken a keen interest in nutrition, there’s no way I’d dream of eating those type so cereals to start my day. In addition to the detrimental effects on your brain, these ‘fast carbs’ cause blood sugar levels to rise and insulin levels to peak which induces your body to enter starvation mode, meaning your body starts to store fat.

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40 Ways To Focus On Your Weight Loss Goals

If you’ve ever joined a weight loss program, and failed, you’re among the majority by far apparently. Here are 40 ways to focus on your weight loss goals which are written as mistakes people make, but rearrange them, and you have 22 ways to focus on achieving your goals, rather than failing with them. They are written by Peta Bee for the Daily Mail, and quite a few of them are pretty original, like eating off the wrong coloured plate and saying “I can’t” rather than “I don’t” when offered certain foods, and listing to the wrong type of music when eating, can actually cause you to eat more.  I’ve excerpted the first 5 of 22 points:

Yoga For Focus And Weight Loss1 Eating cereal for breakfast. A U.S. study found breakfast cereal sweetened with sugar left overweight participants hungry before lunchtime, and they consumed more calories a day than those given an egg for breakfast (the protein kept them full). Egg eaters also had significantly lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.

2 Having milk in your tea. Last year, Indian scientists found tea contains high levels of compounds, theaflavins and thearubigins, that help to reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the gut, and can cut cholesterol. However, proteins found in cows’ milk neutralise this ability. Drink your tea black.

3 Eating white bread. Too many refined carbs, especially white bread and white rice, can lead to weight gain, particularly around the midriff, found researchers at Tufts University in Boston.

Two groups ate roughly the same number of calories each day, but those who ate mostly refined carbs added a half inch on their waist per year compared with those eating unrefined ‘whole’ foods such as vegetables and  wholegrain bread.

4 Not reading food labels. A study in the Journal of Consumer Affairs showed that people who habitually read food labels as well as taking exercise lose more weight than those who merely exercise. What’s more, those who only read food labels and are sedentary lose more than those who exercise but ignore the food labels.

5 Drinking too much fruit juice. Fruit juices and other sugary drinks have a stronger impact on weight than calories from solid food, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Cutting out just one sugary drink a day resulted in a weight loss of more than 1lb after six months. Read the full article here

I think if you applied all of these 40 ways to focus on your weight loss goals, you’d be on to a winner – almost without having to invest in any fitness program. They all make a lot of sense. Having written an ebook myself in the men’s health and fitness area, through extensive research and by pairing up with experts, I see a lot of common ground here. Being stressed and not sleeping enough feature in the list too – both of which affect your hormone levels and thus your ability to burn fat, and of course hinder your ability to focus.

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Exercise And Food For Focus

I thought it was about time to excerpt something useful about exercise and food for focus, and here’s an article combining the two. It is widely known that exercise is beneficial for your brain as well as all for your all other vital organs, as is eating the correct types of food. I believe having a sound knowledge of nutrition is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, both for your brain and for your health as a whole. This is an excerpt from Yeshiva World which at first glance may seem a little behind, but it contains some very useful reminders as to the effects of exercise and nutrition on your brain.

Exercise For Focus Exercise also helps the brain in other ways such as cognitive functions. Children who engage in aerobic exercise score higher on tests, says Dr. Charles H. Hillman at the University of Illinois at Urbana. In addition, he also discovered that aerobic exercise not only increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine, but also actually increases the size of your brain, particularly the hippocampus, which is the part of your brain that controls emotion. Also, it seems that exercise allows the brain to retrieve latent memories.

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Looking at the nutrition side of this equation, we know that just like poor eating can harm normal blood circulation to your heart, the same is true of the brain. The better blood flow is up to your brain, the more oxygen and nutrients are available in order to sustain itself. Therefore, an eating program that is vegetable and fruit dense and low in trans fats and saturated fats, and yet includes monounsaturated healthy fats will help keep your arteries from clogging.

Read the full article here

I named this article exercise and food for focus, to tailor it for this website. There is no mention of focus in the article but ultimately it’s all related. If both exercise and eating the correct types of food are essential for your brain, then we can surely deduce from this article alone, that the right combination of the two will help to focus too. There are plenty of other articles on both subjects on this site under the categories of Exercise For Focus and Food For Focus which support this.

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The Best Brain Foods For Your Child

If you’re a parent the chances are that you’ll have taken a vested interest in nutrition.  Here’s a recap of the best brain foods for your child which I highly recommend reading, even if you’re not a parent! We are what we eat after all and unless we educate ourselves, we may just be depriving our bodies and brains of key ingredients.

Brain Food For Your ChildMilk, Yoghurt and Other Dairy Products: Milk and other dairy products are a rich source of Protein, Calcium, Potassium and Vitamin D. All these essential nutrients are a key source to the development of neuromuscular system, neurotransmitters, enzymes and brain tissues. Children and people in the adolescent age group who are in the growing stage also require these nutrients.

All Kinds Of Berries: You might refer to strawberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries as “Brainberries” as they provide almost all essential brain nutrients. They are an ample source of antioxidants and Vitamin C which help in reducing the oxidative stress. The seeds are a rich source omega-3 fatty acids, one of the most important constituents of the outer membrane of our brain cells.

Eggs and Nuts: Choline, another one of the essential elements for the development of memory stem cells is to be found in abundance in eggs. Nuts also have a fair proportion of this chemical. A Choline rich diet increases the production of memory stem cells in brain. It also minimizes fatigue and improves reaction time. Nuts and seeds are a rich source of Vitamin D. High levels of Vitamin D respond to a less cognitive decline.

Read the full article here

If you read the whole article on the best brain foods for your child you’ll see that salmon is mentioned again.  This is a common theme which for me is unfortunate as my lips swell to three times their normal size. Whilst this might be hilarious for others, it’s not a pleasant feeling. Previous posts on food for focus have advised that fish oil supplements should be taken for those who don’t like fish or who are allergic.  It was interesting to see whole grains mentioned here too. A lot of breakfast cereals that children love don’t include whole grains so what’s the best way to feed your child this key ingredient? Whole grain porridge is a winner with my nieces and nephews.  If you make it with milk and add brain berries that’s three out of these five brain foods covered in one fell swoop!

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5 Ways To Focus By Eating The Right Types Of Food

A key ingredient in being able to focus, is down to your diet. We are what we eat and our brains need feeding properly just as much as the rest of our vital organs do. Here are 5 ways to focus by eating the right types of food, written by Vice President of the Central Iowa District Dietetic Association, Teri Collins.  I’ve excerpted two of the five points, one of which highlights the importance of regular feeding to avoid your body going into starvation mode, which is not only detrimental in keeping off fat, but starves your brain too of its required nutrients.

Manage your macros.

It’s not always about what you eat; it’s also about how you eat. Aim for a balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat (the “macros”) at each meal and have snacks that contain a carbohydrate with either fat or protein. Try to eat every three to four hours, and avoid skipping meals. Ensuring a steady and balanced caloric intake throughout the day is the first step to keeping focused and alert. Try walnuts sprinkled with cinnamon paired with a fresh orange or a rice cake slathered with hummus for snack time munchies.

If it’s white, watch your bite!

“White” foods such as breads, pasta and cereals are generally stripped of their fiber and bran and are associated with the symptoms of “sugar crash,” such as irritability and headaches, which are not redeeming qualities in the workplace! Whole-wheat and whole-grain foods incorporate the whole plant that provides the diet with a valuable fiber source. Meals rich in fiber delay stomach emptying and create a lower rise in blood sugar, in turn eliminating sugar crashes.

Read the full article here

If you read all of the 5 ways to focus by eating the right types of food, you’ll have seen that the topic of margarine was visited.  While Teri Collins advises to keep it to a minimum, I’d go one step further and say avoid them completely unless they are made with olive oil and have no vegetable oil content which is hydrogenated. This is a quote from the No.1 abdominal fitness product on the internet, The Truth About Abs about Hydrogenated oils:

In hydrogenation, the already toxic oils have a metal catalyst added to them and are again treated under high pressure and high temperature, and then steam cleaned and bleached. Now does that sound like something you should put in your body in even small quantities?

Also, coffee is mentioned as a great stimulant which does contain some antioxidants, but why not stick to green tea, for which I’m an absolute advocate.  It not only contains plenty of antioxidants, but is reported to also reduce the rate at which your body absorbs carbohydrates, speed up your metabolism, burn off fat and have many benefits for your brain too! At which point would you not drink that all day long? (Until mid afternoon so it doesn’t affect your sleep.) If you’d like to learn more about green tea, this article from Psychology Today is well worth a read.

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