11 Tips for Improving Brain Power...From Your Kitchen!

Improving brain power for you or your child may be as simple as eating the proper foods. Maybe your child isn’t doing well in school because he or she is eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) which really is sad! Maybe your own memory, alertness and concentration could use a boost too. Try these tips for a few months and see how improving brain power can be accomplished by paying attention to what you put in your body.

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Improving Brain Power Tip #1- Prepare foods that are fresh and free of pesticides. If you can’t get fresh organic foods, try frozen foods. When you eat foods which are as close to their natural state as possible, they deliver the most potent nutrition. Avoid canned or preserved foods with artificial additives and preservatives or foods with artificial colors and flavors. These chemicals can build up and damage cells and brain function over time.

Tip #2- The brain is a heavy user of oxygen and it is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. Antioxidants are crucial for continued effective functioning of the brain. It is best to take your antioxidants the way nature intended—in foods, where they occur in a balanced form. Blueberries are a powerful brain food primarily because of their antioxidant properties. They have been shown to have the ability to improve memory and keep your brain “young.” They can also help you improve your balance and coordination. Research suggests that a diet rich in berries reduces, or even reverses, declining brain function. The acai berry from South America and the Indian gooseberry (amla) are wonderful for the brain but you may not have them stocked in your kitchen.

Other foods rich in antioxidants are broccoli, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, oranges, spinach, apricots, red and yellow peppers and sweet potatoes. Stick to bright colors when choosing fruits and vegetables. They have vitamins A and C which are linked to improving your memory and reasoning powers and keeping your arteries functioning properly.

Tip #3- Eat several helpings of fruit and vegetables each day. Freshly squeezed fruit juices deliver nutrients quickly to your mind and body. Fruits are excellent cleansers—they flush toxins out of the body. Vegetables and fruits contain natural sugars which keep you alert. Your brain needs natural sugars to function at its best. Foods with the B vitamin folic acid (okra, spinach, lentils, collards, asparagus, black beans, Romaine lettuce, black-eyed peas, and sunflower seeds) prevent brain degeneration and keep your nervous system healthy.

Tip #4- Increase protein intake by using soy or whey protein. Some of the powdered shake mixes are delicious! Your mother was right. Fish is brain food, too. Try a tuna salad or a tuna sandwich for lunch.

Tip #5- Essential fatty acids are necessary for maximum brain power as well as promoting normal brain growth and development. They also help boost memory and your ability to learn new things. Integrate omega-3 fatty acids into the daily diet by eating fish, eggs, nut or seed oils and blue-green algae.

Tip #6- All nuts, particularly walnuts, are good for your brain because they keep your arteries clear and boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls sleep, depression, memory, and other neurological processes.

Tip #7- Include some dairy if you wish such as organic milk and fresh yogurt. Be sure to read the ingredients listed on the container so you avoid artificial ingredients.

Tip #8- We’ve all been told to reduce our intake of fats. But, fat performs some essential functions in the body. Ghee (you can get it in the Indian Foods section of your supermarket or health food store) is valued for its ability to transport the beneficial components of herbs and spices to the brain and other parts of the body. Eat Ghee in moderation.

Tip #9- What would life be without a little spice! Many spices enhance digestion and facilitate the clearing of toxins from the body. This means that the channels of the body, including those that serve the brain, will be clear. Black pepper in small quantities is particularly recommended for clearing the channels of the brain and promoting the free flow of oxygen to the brain. Did you ever try a little freshly ground black pepper on strawberries? It sounds awful but it TASTES wonderful! Other common spices which are good for the brain include: turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. The herb rosemary helps mental focus. Add some fresh or dried rosemary leaves to your cooking. If you have a rosemary plant, just pluck and sniff a few leaves. The magic is in the scent.

Tip #10- The brain functions more effectively when the body is adequately hydrated. So, reach for a glass of cool water when you need to be alert. Ice-cold drinks disrupt digestion and impair the assimilation of nutrients by the body and should therefore be avoided. Avoid sugary, carbonated, caffeinated drinks which also interfere with the absorption of nutrients by the body.

Tip #11- I’ve saved the best for last…real organic CHOCOLATE! That means either 100% organic cocoa powder or a dark chocolate bar with at least 75% cacao content. Real chocolate contains Vitamin E and releases dopamine to enhance cognition and mood.

Try to implement some of these tips for improving brain power. By paying attention to what you are feeding your children, you may help improve their performance in school as well.

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