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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Brain food: 4 steps to better your brain power

If you’ve ever felt “mentally” exhausted and wondered what to do about it you’re in good company. Mental exhaustion is a condition that is both physical and mental/emotional. It is usually brought on by the lack of a few things; sleep deprivation, a diet lacking healthy omega 3 fatty acids and complex carbs, and a sedentary lifestyle. What you do about it will either propel you into recovery or send your body and brain into a deeper “lull” and lackluster response. Here are four steps to help you start building your “brain” power back to a healthy level.
Step 1: Get some sleep. The brain needs 6-8 hours of consistent sleep in order to rebuild/restore brain cells used during the previous 18 hours. If you are suffering from insomnia, try avoiding the use of caffeine and/or the consumption of refined sugar at least 3-5 hours before bedtime. Stop watching television, being on the computer or anything else that may be too “mentally” stimulating at least 45 minutes before bedtime. Although some people can attest to drinking caffeine, eating refined sugar and watching television right before falling asleep, many people will not receive a “sound” rest in the end.
Step 2: Add healthy fat to your overall diet. The best “brain food” is anything that contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids. The optimal brain foods are “wild caught or fresh” – not Farm Raised – salmon, mackerel, tuna. Why? They contain what the brain needs to rebuild/restore/replenish healthy cells. Farm raised food often contains hormones that are not healthy. Adding healthy fat to your diet adds the healthy fat your brain needs to function.
Step 3: Complex carbs feed the brain healthy glucose.  Did you know the brain absorbs about 20% of our overall calories alone? The combination of both healthy fats and complex carbohydrates not only “fuel” the brain (food is fuel) but also helps the brain emotionally/mentally to maintain its ability to keep our body functioning properly. Mental fatigue is the result of what we’re not doing to maintain overall wellness.
Step 4: Exercise is an absolute must. Cardio exercise helps to raise our body’s endorphins (neurotransmitters produced in the brain, made to reduce pain). Most people think “pain = gain” and therefore avoid exercise. But when you think about the overall result of exercise, gain does not equal pain. Sure, you may feel some muscle fatigue and getting back in condition may come at some expense (physically) but the overall outcome should be your body getting what it needs in order to help you avoid future pain while relieving stress naturally.
The next time you feel “mentally fatigued” try changing your routine to see the difference it will make on your “brain power” and overall sense of wellbeing.
Brain food refers to different foods that help boost the production or contribute to the overall health of the brain.

brain healthy food 250x300 Brain Food Brain food can be split into four categories, all of which prove essential in maintaining a healthy brain. The brain food categories are fats, proteins, carbohydrates and antioxidants.
Not every food that fits in the above list is considered optimum brain food. Instead specific types of the above are most likely to be beneficial to the brain when consumed. Fats that contribute to brain health, for example, generally refer to Omega-3 fatty acids.
Breakfast is the most important meal to kickstart your activity-filled day. Foods such as oatmeal, scrambled eggs, strawberries and blueberries can be considered excellent brain foods. Here are some key traits about different brain foods during on breakfast:
Oatmeal: A high-fiber food with loads of protein. According to a study conducted by the Tufts University, kids who eat oatmeal daily for breakfast have improved memory, which helps them to perform better in studies and IQ competitions. Eating oatmeal daily enhances cognitive performance since it helps release glucose into the blood system.
Bucket Of Berries 300x138 Brain FoodStrawberries and Blueberries: They are fruits packed with antioxidants and are considered best brain boosters.
Eggs: An egg contains a very important nutrient called Choline, which helps in the creation of memory stem cells in the brain. This results in improved memory. Eggs are also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. When preparing eggs for your kids, make sure you have tasty recipe ideas. Add lip-smacking ingredients like cheese and salsa or make some scrambled eggs for your kids.
Eating a balanced diet during lunch-time keeps your blood sugar level stable and makes you energetic. Fun sandwiches made from whole wheat bread can be one of the best brain foods. Whole wheat breads are rich in fiber, which makes it an ideal candidate to improve your IQ levels.improving memory 4 300x235 Brain Food
Turkey wrapped up with whole grain tortillas makes an excellent nutritious lunch. Turkey is rich in amino acid tyrosine, which helps in production of neuro-transmitters. These neuro-transmitters ensure alertness and energy.
Salmon salad can also be a nice addition to your lunch. Being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, eating Salmons can ensure with intelligence, behavior and vision.
Evening Snack
Nuts or Flaxseeds: Almonds, cashew nuts and flax seeds are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can boost your kid’s memory and intelligence.
Dry Fruits: Dry fruits such as raisins and dates are rich in iron and other minerals, which increases mental alertness and raises the energy levels.

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