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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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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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Ways To Focus On The Good Fats

It would appear that eating ‘good’ fats and not eating the ‘bad’ fats, is not only important in fat control (and your health in general), but has recently been reported to be necessary for cognitive reasons and brain health.  Here are some ways to focus on the good fats, written by Amanda L. Chan for the Huffington Post.  She explains how a study of 6,000 women, published by the Annals of Neurology (had to be careful with the spelling there), found that women who consumer ‘good’ fats performed better than those who consumed ‘bad’ fats.  Whether you’re a woman, or not, this is an important read.

Ways To Focus On The Good Fats

Bad fats

http://www.flickr.com/photos/spoospa/68758014/

Meanwhile, women who consumed the most “good” fats scored better on cognitive tests during the study.

Saturated fats are commonly found in animal products, like butter and red meat, while monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, among other foods.

“When looking at changes in cognitive function, what we found is that the total amount of fat intake did not really matter, but the type of fat did,” study researcher Dr. Olivia Okereke, M.D., of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Psychiatry, said in a statement.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Neurology, included data from 6,000 women who were part of the Women’s Health Study. These women, who were all age 45 and older, participated in a cognitive functioning test every two years over a four-year period, and also completed food questionnaires at the start of the study.

“Our findings have significant public health implications,” Okereke said in the statement. “Substituting in the good fat in place of the bad fat is a fairly simple dietary modification that could help prevent decline in memory.”

Read the full article here

I think the last line of these ways to focus on the good fats says it all.  It’s not even worth arguing nor taking a change with.  Trans fats are pure evil, and so are hydrogenated oils which are found in most processed foods, vegetable oils and margarine.  I can’t actually understand why there is not more education out there on nutrition, nor why our governments don’t heavily tax such foods.  In fact, nutrition should be an imperative course in schools and colleges in my opinion as we really are what we eat.  Maybe we could then put an end to this obesity epidemic and protect the brains and health of our future children.  Did I go off on one here? What do you think? Share your comments below!

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Eat Fish And Focus!

You may have read on this site that fish is regarded as an excellent source of brain food.  If it’s an excellent source of brain food, then surely it’s ok to say ‘eat fish and focus?’ Here, Connie Diekman, for University City Patch, explains how it’s the Omega-3 fatty acid content of fish that is reported to be a key ingredient for our brains.

Fish For Focus, Brain FoodSeveral new studies have looked at the health of the brain, as well as memory and learning, and it seems inclusion of fish in your diet is an important component.

Studies have looked at fish intake and its impact on memory, learning and even mood. While the extent of research is still limited, studies do show that those who eat fish more often, many studies indicate at least once a week, have greater brain volume.

Researchers suggest that the impact of fish on the brain is related to the Omega-3 fatty acid content of the fish. Omega-3 fatty acids help increase blood flow, fight inflammation and prevent accumulation of plaque associated with Alzheimer’s.

Click here to view the original source of the article

If you’re allergic to fish (I can relate to that), then maybe it’s wise to ignore the advice to ‘eat fish and focus!’ You can take fish oil/ omega-3 supplements.  For those who are not allergic, it is recommended that you consume 2 portions of fish a week and the fish with highest omega-3 content are:

  • Arctic char — 139 mg/3 ounces
  • Herring — 181 mg/3 ounces
  • Mackerel — 102-157 mg/3 ounces (depends on origin)
  • Opah/Moonfish — 135 mg/3 ounces
  • Salmon — 110-120 mg/3 ounces (depends on origin)
  • Bluefin tuna — 128 mg/3 ounces
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Brain Foods To Help You Focus

We all know that our brains need feeding for them to function properly. It’s important to eat the correct brain foods to help you focus, as the wrong types of food, may have an opposite effect.  Here are a few natural tips for boosting your ability to focus.

Eat breakfast

It turns out that breakfast is one, if not the most, important meals of the day.
Studies have shown that students who eat breakfast perform significantly better than students who do not.
Researchers have found that dairy, fruits and high-fiber whole grains are the best for concentration.
So, make sure to think twice before skipping breakfast.

Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for proper brain growth and function.
Incorporating it into your diet has been linked with lowering dementia and increasing memory overtime.
Popular foods that contain omega-3s are fish, seeds and nuts.
Always strive for a balanced diet that is filled with a variety of different food groups.

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When I first read that drinking caffeine was one of the brain foods to help you focus, and late at night, I thought this was rather controversial. I therefore was not going to include this article, even though it’s exactly what I used to do when I was studying at university late at night, as late at night was my effective time.  Caffeine is great earlier on in the day, but it can obviously affect your sleep, which in turn will affect your ability to focus the next day.  I’d therefore take the caffeine suggestion with a pinch of salt, and if you do drink caffeine, then green tea is the broccoli of teas in my opinion.  (I say broccoli, as broccoli is a well known super food.)

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6 Foods To Help You To Focus

You may be surprised to hear that what you eat (or don’t eat) is the number one reason leading to a lack of focus and concentration during a long day at work. Jeniffer Cohen who recently wrote for Forbes.com outlines 6 foods to help you to focus.

Here are 6 foods that will not only boost your productivity throughout the day, but are proven to help sharpen your focus. They are easy to add to your diet and the benefits will last a lifetime.

1. Steel-Cut Oatmeal

2. Blueberries

3. Wild Salmon

4. Avocado

5. Green Tea

6. Dark Chocolate

So how many of these are you eating every day? I was pleasantly surprised to see that, despite being allergic to salmon, I actually consume 4 out of these 6 foods to help you to focus almost every day.

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Foods To Help You Focus

If you’re struggling to stay focused during revision or an assignment, it may be that your brain is lacking its favourite foods. Interestingly, your brain uses twenty per cent of your energy, so with that in mind (on a side note), never skip breakfast. Here, Roxanne Ringer, of The Miscellany News, talks about some of the best brain foods to help you focus.

What’s the best way to combat stress and exhaustion while treating your body right? Give your brain food. Though it’s only two per cent of your body’s mass, your brain typically uses 20 per cent of your energy. And if you’re thinking more than normal,

As tempting as it is to tuck into unhealthy snacks like sweets and chocolates whilst studying, as I would normally do when I was a student, give your brain a variety of foods to help you focus, like avocados, nuts, coffee beans, green vegetables, peppermint tea, flaxseeds and low fat yogurt. With a side portion of Salmon. Ok, maybe not all at once but you get the idea.

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