Brain Boosters: Foods That Can Help Improve Your Intelligence, Alertness, Focus, And Memory
When it comes to your brain, there’s always room for improvement. One can never be too smart, too witty, nor full of too many useless facts. Still, all the effort needed to acquire such abilities is rather tiring. If only we could eat a food that would instantly transform us into geniuses. Well, until scientists develop this magic cuisine, here are a few foods that may help out a bit with your brain’s strength.
No one ever started their day wishing that they were less smart. Colleges make billions by promising hopeful 18-year-olds that four years at their institutions will make them more intelligent than the rest of the population. Little do they know that similar results could be achieved by simply consuming…dark chocolate? In a study conducted by Northumbria University in England, students performed better on simple math tests after drinking shakes chock full of cocoa, Fox News reported. It’s not that dark chocolate makes you “smarter” but it does help the knowledge you already have shine through a bit better. The flavonol in dark chocolate boosts the circulatory system, increasing the amount of blood that reaches your brain, according to Fox News. This ultimately increases brain functions which would explain why test scores can improve after a quick chocolaty snack.
When you’re feeling sluggish, you may be tempted to grab a coffee or candy bar for a quick pick me up. Although these foods will give you an instant energy boost, it’s often short lived and the later crash can leave you worse off. Vitamin E filled almonds may offer a more effective alternative. These are the most nutrient filled nuts, according to a 2010 study,Business Insider reported. The vitamin E and magnesium in almonds will keep your brain at top-working capacity without the aforementioned “crash” afterwards. If nuts aren’t your thing, there’s nothing quite like gold old fashioned protein to give your brain a much needed boost to get you through the day. Protein is able to stimulate orexin neurons, the cells in your brain responsible for keeping you awake. All animal by products such as fish, meats, dairy, and eggs are packed with protein.
It happens to the best of us. You get halfway through a perfectly fine work day when suddenly you find you can’t seem to focus on anything for longer than a few minutes. Maybe next time you should put down the coffee and try reaching for a berry snack instead. Studies have shown that blueberries in particular are able to increase “concentration and memory” for up to five hours. This is due to the large amount of antioxidants they contain. These powerful nutrients are able to stimulate the blood of blood and oxygen to your brain which results in sharper focus, no caffeine needed. The fact that they are able to fight cancer as well doesn’t hurt either.
Who doesn’t want better memory? Studies suggest that eating cold water fatty fish, such as salmon not only helps you to improve memory retention, but can also protect you for degenerative mental disease such as dementia. That is because they contain high levels of essential fatty acids called DHA. According to the BBC, tomatoes can help protect memory loss due to free radical damage to cells, you know just in case you needed a reason to have that second serving of pasta.
When it comes to dieting, lose the fads. The single most effective way to lose weight and maintain health is by making lasting lifestyle changes. Clean eating is a lifestyle that puts the boot to processed, packaged foods dripping with salt, sodium, and unpronounceable ingredients. It focuses instead on natural, nutrient-packed foods that let your body run the way it’s supposed to. Change how you look and feel with our clean eating tips.
- Do eat four to six small meals a day. Smaller, more frequent meals will keep your blood sugar levels stable and will increase your metabolism. And, because the meals keep the tummy satisfied throughout the day, you’re less likely to turn into a pantry-raiding snack monster.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Never. Ever. Your morning meal establishes healthy metabolism throughout day. What’s more, if you skip it, you’ll likely find yourself consuming larger quantities of food at later meals.
- Do drink. Water, that is. Drink at least four to six glasses of H2O every day to keep the body hydrated. Water also helps the stomach feel full, making you less likely to give in to unhealthy snack attacks. For a refreshing twist on this go-to drink, try Morning Lemon & Mint Water.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol. Whether it’s wine or beer, alcohol offers only empty calories and no nutritional value. If you’re going to enjoy alcohol, save it for special occasions.
- Do keep clean eating snacks on hand. Whether the day is filled with the kids’ sports events or running errands for an elderly parent, it’s easy to give in to the bad snack temptation. Stay on your clean eating track by packing up healthy snacks in advance.
- Don’t sabotage yourself with sugar. Excess sugar is linked to a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and inflammation. Packaged and processed foods often flood the body with unneeded sugar. Even a product that sounds healthy, like store-bought applesauce, often contains too much refined sugar. Instead, satisfy a sweet tooth with natural sugars, like those found in a whole apple.
- Do get very veggie. Vegetables deliver nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Don’t serve super-sized portions. Even if you’re eating a clean diet, it will be hard to lose weight eating portions fit for a sumo champ.
- Do combine lean protein and complex carbs at each meal. This clean eating one-two punch decreases insulin spikes and maintains energy levels. The combo also acts as a natural appetite suppressant, helping you feel fuller longer. Pair Chicken Pot Roast with your favorite salad topped with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
- Don’t go into the week without a meal plan. Can’t answer the question, “what’s for dinner tonight?” Be a planner. Decide on a week’s worth of clean eating recipes ahead of time so that you don’t get stuck feeding the family a boxed meal containing processed or powdered who-knows-what.
From planning clean eating recipes to watching what you drink, you have the power to change how your body looks and feels. Take your first step today!
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