A Recipe for Cranial Wellness

The brain, like a muscle, requires training and proper nutrition. Check out this list of “Brain Foods” and their powerful benefits to fuel your mind.

The brain, like a muscle, requires training and proper nutrition. Check out this list of “Brain Foods” and their powerful benefits to fuel your mind.

We’re all about wellness in August!

From home organization to financial wellness to feeding your brain, we’re bringing you unique ways to add wellness into your life — check out this list of “brain foods” from our resident foodie The Culinary Composer.

Best Foods for Brain Power

During my junior year of high school, I and my peers were subjected to an onslaught of “brain tests” to determine our aptitudes, skills, and IQs. It had something to do with career goals and all that jazz.

Always a freethinker, this attempt to put everyone in their proper category boggled my mind. Of all the testing, only the results of one have stayed with me and proven quite accurate. It was the right brain/left brain test.

A school counselor read me tests results revealing that I was neither right nor left dominant. My brain was split right down the middle. Upon remarking this result was only seen in a small percentile, she added that it could lead to intense distraction and difficulty at settling on a career path — I promptly informed her that my parents could have saved them time and money in drawing that conclusion.

Test or no test, that attribute has led to some of my greatest achievements and set the stage for some of my greatest challenges. I learned early on that my brain thrives on variety and withers with consistency. I adapted my professional career to involve multiple projects of differing skill sets and creative outlets in order to avoid under-stimulation.

I’ve also learned through my study of food science that the brain reacts to diet. The brain, like a muscle, requires training and proper nutrition. As I write this, I’m the busiest I’ve ever been in my career. In attempting to keep up with myself, I dove into researching a nutrition plan that maximizes optimal brain function, improves focus, energy, and memory, and, in the long run, will hopefully assist in deterring the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

The following is a list of the top 10 scientifically studied (and proven) “Brain Foods” (in no particular order)

A sample day’s menu is included at end of article to help you devise a plan.

Blueberries

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Dark-Colored fruits, especially blueberries, are high in anti- oxidants.Research from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts Universityfound that blueberry extract improved short-term memory and motor skills in test subjects.

Spinach

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Dark or leafy greens contain high levels of folate and B12, which reduces homocysteine levels associated with increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Almonds

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The antioxidative properties of vitamin E are proven to reduce deterioration in the brain as you age. Just 2 ounces of almonds contain the recommended daily intake of E.4.

Eggs

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Studies have shown that students who received 3 to 4 grams of choline 1 hour prior to taking memory tests scored higher than those who did not. Eggs are one of the highest sources.

Oatmeal

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Consuming carbohydrate-rich foods is equivalent to a shot of glucose (blood sugar)to the brain according to University of Toronto researchers. According to their study, the higher concentrationof glucose in your blood, the better your memory or concentration. Slow burning complex carbs like oatmeal are the best choice for your waistline and sustained energy.

Turkey

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This excellent source of lean protein also contains the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine has been shown to assist the brain in maintaining levels of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter to memory.

Raisins

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USDA researchers have found that subjects taking in 3.2 milligrams or more of boron daily performed 10 percent better on attention and memory tests. Raisins and apples are loaded with boron.

Fish

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Cold water varieties such as salmon, halibut, tuna, and mackeral contain more omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s play a vital role in brain function. Scientists have also discovered that these fatty acids found in certain oily fish can decrease the symptoms of depression.

Coffee

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This one’s a no-brainer (pun intended). Those of us who require our cup or two in order to function have good reason. Researchers found increased attention and problem-solving skills --and possibly fewer household arguments.

Try implementing these powerful foods into your diet for an increased boost in mental clarity, alertness, productivity and creative flow.

For added wellness benefit work on eliminating foods known to be toxic for the body and mind as well as cause fatigue. Those culprits include sugar, soda, artificial sweeteners, excessive dairy and simple white processed grains (go for whole grains, oats, quinoa and sweet potato for a carbohydrate boost).

Sample One Day “Brain Food Diet” Menu

BREAKFAST

Protein Oatmeal with Blueberries or a Green and Berries Power Smoothie

ON THE WAY TO WORK

Cup of Joe

SNACK

12oz Almonds / 1 Hard Boiled Egg

LUNCH

Turkey & Swiss on Whole Grain or Lettuce Wrap

SNACK

1oz Raisins and 4 Apple Slices

DINNER

Grilled Salmon over a bed of fresh spinach with almonds, dried cranberries, 1 hard boiled egg and a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

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By: James Polinori