It has been proven that by feeding your brain in a certain way, you can boost your IQ, improve your mood, be more emotionally stable, sharpen your memory and keep your mind young.
Of course, using your brain is a prerequisite to a healthy brain. But it has also been proven that if you give your brain the right nutrients, you can become able to think quicker, have a better memory, be better coordinated and balanced and have improved concentration.
The three key brain foods necessary to boost your brainpower and keep your brain healthy and your mental processes operating effectively are nutritious food, water and oxygen
Although the brain represents only about 2% of the body's weight, it utilizes about 20% of the body's oxygen.
A good way to oxygenate your brain is walking. Because of the oxygenation most people perceive themselves as having a clear head after a good walk.
After a big meal, most of our body's oxygen is being used by our stomach and digestive system as it digests the food we have eaten. This means that our brain is being denied much of the oxygen it needs to function effectively and stay mentally alert. This is why you tend to feel sleepy after a big meal. Eating little quantities that are easily digested helps your brain to stay oxygenated.
Water makes up 83% of the blood and acts as a transport system, delivering nutrients to the brain and eliminating toxins.
Your brain needs to be fully hydrated so that the circuitry works well and it functions at optimum levels. Water is essential for concentration and mental alertness.
Studies have shown that most people are permanently partially dehydrated. This means that their brain is working considerably below its capacity and potential.
A study by Trevor Brocklebank at Leeds University in the UK discovered that schoolchildren with the best results in class were those who drank up to eight glasses of water a day. (source: Bill Lucas, Power Up Your Mind, 2001). Therefore, you should drink at least 2 litres of water every day.
Because thinking is a biochemical process that needs neurotransmitters to carry messages from one neuron to the other, the brain needs nutrients that can build these neurotransmitters. These nutrients are made from amino acids found in protein foods like meat, fish, milk and cheese. Also vitamins and minerals are needed to convert ordinary amino acids into these powerful neurotransmitters.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the growth and functioning of the brain.
The 'B' complex vitamins are particularly important for the brain and play a vital role in producing energy. Vitamins A, C and E are powerful antioxidants and promote and preserve memory in the elderly.
Minerals are also critical to mental functioning and performance. Magnesium and manganese are needed for brain energy. Sodium, potassium and calcium are important in the thinking process and they facilitate the transmission of messages.
Nature's Herbs: Brahmi
Brahmi, also known as bacopin, bacopa monnieri or Indian Pennywort, is a type of herb that grows in Asia and Australia. Studies revealed at prestigious World Neurological Conferences show that Brahmi is an effective 'brain food' as it nourishes the brain and improves intelligence and memory. Brahmi is popular especially among students as it enhances the brain’s ability to learn and focus under stressful conditions. Other studies have shown that Brahmi has a calming effect and has since become the herb of choice for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) children. Moreover, Brahmi is also recommended for middle aged people who find their memory starts to fade.
In short, the benefits of Brahmi include improving learning and mental performance while helping to relieve the stress of a learning or study environment.
Essential Building Materials for your brain cells are fatty acids. There are two kinds of fatty acids that are considered important and that we need to get from our diet because our body cannot manufacture them.
The first is Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA- Omega 3 family). Food sources of ALA include flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, sea vegetables, and green leafy vegetables.
The second essential fatty acid you need is Linoleic acid (LA – Omega 6 family). Food sources of omega-6 LA include expeller cold-pressed sunflower, safflower, corn, and sesame oils.
Myelin, the protective sheath that covers communicating neurons, is composed of 30% protein and 70% fat. One of the most common fatty acids in myelin is oleic acid, which is also the most abundant fatty acid in human milk and in our diet. Monosaturated oleic acid is the main component of olive oil as well as the oils from almonds, pecans, macadamias, peanuts, and avocados.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon, and tuna.
Folic acid supplementation also shows promise of protecting and improving cognitive function in older adults, according to a 2007 study published in Lancet by Jane Durga and colleagues. It may also reduce age-related decline in hearing.
The fuel for your brain is glucose. You can get glucose by eating carbohydrates or other foods that can be converted to glucose.