Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Food For Thought! Support Your Brain

This week marked the beginning of another school year.  As I spoke with various students over the past few days, I have noticed that emotional levels were on an all time high (versus the relaxed summer months).  Many are excited to see their friends, others are energized as they get ready to embark on a new grade, and there are those that are anxiously anticipating the much dreaded homework and testing that accompany education. 
We are in school to gain knowledge, so why not fuel our brain to ensure that we can retain as much as possible.  Not only will our students end up with higher GPAs but the improved memory will help to reduce stress levels.  That really means food for thought! 
General Brain Optimization Program

1)  Consume “Brain Boosting” Foods and avoid those “Brain Bummers”

2)  Consume mostly raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, farm eggs and fish

3)  Pair Complex Carbohydrates (whole grains, rice) with protein and Essential Fatty Acids

4)  Get 6 hours of Physical Activity per week (Joining a group such as the Hamilton Hammerheads is great for your children.  We offer workouts in swimming, biking, running and strength and conditioning)

5)  Get adequate rest to avoid fatigue (8 hours of sleep per night is optimal)

***** Secret tip:  hold breath for 30 seconds every hour for 30 days (improves mental alertness)

Food is essential to our ever changing and growing bodies.   So, when you wake up in the morning, think about how you want your brain (or your children’s brains) to work.  Below I have listed some of the best brain boosting foods, as well as “Brain Bummers”.  Try these foods in any combination, or follow my recommended Brain Boosting Recipes throughout the day to Power your Brain.

If you are still feeling apprehensive about your brain’s memory ability, contact a Holistic Practitioner as they may help to determine more specific needs for your body.

Best Brain Boosting Foods

Spinach - Aids in memory retention

Eggplant - Improves focus

Broccoli – Improves cognitive function

Eggs – Contain a high level of choline which gives memory a boost

Yogurt - (if you are able) contains a high level of calcium which helps with memory and alertness as well as an amino acid called tyrosine which produces dopamine.  Dopamine is responsible for reward-driven learning.

Wild Salmon - improves brain growth & function

Bananas - are high in antioxidants, dopamine (boosts memory and attention) and serotonin (boosts memory, learning and mood).

Blueberries - boost brain function and help to protect the brain from stress while improving motor skills and learning capacity

Apples - prevent the loss of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter important for memory and brain health
Hemp Seeds - are Rich in Omega 3's which are essential for brain and nervous system health.  They promote memory, learning, and immune function.

Lecithin - helps to increases acetylcholine levels in the brain which boosts memory.  Acetylcholine actually determines Brain Speed, if you have a lot your brain works faster than if you are deficient. As a bonus, it is also helpful in reducing anxiety. 

Nuts and seeds - help to improve cognitive function due to their high content of Essential Fatty Acids and acetylcholine.   

Garlic - possesses memory-enhancing properties

Brain Protection

Red Cabbage – As an antioxidant it helps to decrease brain cell damage

Brain Bummers

Coffee - offers immediate gratification and awakens the mind, but rest assured your will crash and be left without memory retention capacity.
Simple Sugars - may seem like a great idea in the moment but they actually “turn-off” your brain.

 Brain Booster 1
2 Tbsp Flax Oil
1 Banana
½ Cup of Pre-Soaked Almonds (Soak Overnight)
1 Cup Frozen or Fresh Blueberries
2 Cups of Almond Milk
4 ice cubes
1 Serving of Protein Powder

Brain Booster 2

1 Banana
1 Apple (you can use apple juice if you like)
½ Cup Blueberries
1/3 Cup Hemp Seeds
1 Tablespoon Lecithin
4 ice cubes Handful Ice
1tbsp ground flax seed
“Brain-iac” Salad
3 tbsp Hemp seeds
1 tbsp Lecithin granules
Shredded Red Cabbage
4 Radish
Chopped Broccoli
1 tbsp Raisins

Brain Boosting Snacks

Yogurt and nuts
Yogurt and berries
Banana and nut butter
Apple and nut butter
Hard boiled egg
Yogurt mixed with homemade granola (nuts, hemp hearts, lecithin, maple syrup, raisins)

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