Decmber 12, 2013
By Marilyn Martinucci, CEO/President Heartscan Services
As the holiday season approaches many people feel overwhelmed, stress levels increase and unfortunately increased stress directly impacts the ability for the brain to function efficiently. The main hormone released by the adrenals during stress is cortisol, which, along with adrenalin, puts your body and brain into a temporary but extreme overdrive and interferes with memory function.
Multi- tasking, meeting deadlines, and poor diet can contribute to a scattered mind. While we often blame memory lapses on aging, poor memory can be improved by decreasing stress and better nutrition.
What are "brain foods"?
Research has shown eating certain foods directly impacts the mental state of the brain. The brain, like your heart, lungs and muscles requires nutrients to achieve optimal cognitive ability. Brain foods are “smart” foods that help provide nutrients to improve the health and overall functioning within the brain. One example of a brain “smart” food is fish. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which allow the blood vessels of the brain to remain healthy and fluid. Fish also provides nerve cells within the brain with necessary nutrients that allow cells to function at their highest level.
There are many great foods that have been researched and documented to boost brain power. Knowing which foods boost brain power will allow you to make necessary dietary changes that will positively impact your brain, help you to think more clearly and stay on top of your game.
Sharpen your memory with these TOP (5) Favorites:
1. Beets to regulate heartbeat. A healthy heart means a healthy brain. Every cell in the body needs a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to stay alive and work properly. Stock up on foods such as beets that improve blood flow, ensuring a steady supply of nutrients to the brain. A brain filled with well-nourished neurons enables you to think and remember more clearly.
2. Fish to maintain brain cell health. When it comes to food and memory, fish should be the star of the show. Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel contain generous amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are important for maintaining the health of brain cells.
3. Berries to prevent brain cell breakdown. Berries are loaded with antioxidants which help prevent the breakdown of brain cells. A 2012 Harvard study found women who eat at least one cup of blueberries and strawberries per week experienced a 2.5 year delay in mental decline compared to women who rarely ate berries.
4. Walnuts to improve memory scores. Walnut consumption was associated with better memory scores and cognitive function. Walnuts are also a great source of alpha-linolenic acid – a plant-based form of omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Coffee to sharpen focus. Caffeine can temporarily sharpen your focus and memory. Avoid caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime so it doesn't interfere with your sleep. Quality sleep is a critical component to a sharp mind.