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Feed Your Brain Smartly with Brain Friendly Foods:

By Dr. Aparna Paradhan

Women's era Feb 2008




 Brain Foods


Do you often find you forgetting where you kept your important papers; keep spectacles and names of people whom you had known for years? At time you open the fridge of cupboard to get something and then your stand there thinking out. When these things happen too often, we start blaming age for these memory lapsed, but you never know the problem may be related to something as simple as the food that we eat. Food is the key to a healthy brain. How well you nourish your brain determines how well your brain will perform. Your brain is the greediest organ in your body and high energy and specific deity requirement in order to function well. Changes in energy and nutrient intake can alter both the brains chemistry and functioning of the brain. If you feed the right nutrients to your brain, you will get the best out of your brain. You will think quicker, have a better memory sharper IQ, and better concentration and coordination.


Fuel the brain with brain friendly carbohydrates:

Proper functioning of the brain requires a steady supply of sugars that is obtained from the carbohydrates you eat. Glucose in the form of sugar travels in your bloodstream to fuel your brain. The neurons cannot store glucose; they depend upon the bloodstream for a constant supply of this precious fuel. Fluctuation in glucose levels causes mental confusion dizziness and if server, convulsions and loss of consciousness. The best sources for this steady supply of sugar are complex carbohydrates like wholegrain breads, oats, muesli, sweet potatoes, legumes and brown rice.

Include proteins in your diet:

Proteins are essential for a well balanced mental performance as they provide amino acids from which neurotransmitters are made. Neurotransmitters are messengers that carry signals from one brain cell to another.
The better you feed these messengers the more efficiently your brain works. The best sources of proteins are fish, meat chicken, milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, grains, legumes, soya, nuts and seeds.

Feed the brain with essential fatty acids:

Fats from a major part of the brain. The body needs two kinds of fat to manufacture healthy brain cells (the message senders) and prostaglandins (the messengers). Essential fatty acids -i.e., omega-3 and omega6- in the ratio of 1:1 are required for proper nourishment, normal growth and development of the brain. The boost your intelligence, as they are the key building blocks of a healthy brain. Lack of omega-3 fats in your diet can lead to depression, poor memory, low IQ, learning disabilities and a higher risk of dementia. Eat salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerels, olive oil, nuts, flex and other seeds to feed the brain. The foods from which oil can be extracted are generally the foods highest in essential fatty acids.

Eat food with a low glycemic index:

 Food with low glycemic index  provide a steady blood sugar levels, which in turn contribute to a steady source of energy required for the proper functioning of the brain . The glycemic index predicts the rate at which the ingested food will increase blood sugar levels. Oats, bran, grapefruit, apples, cherries, oranges and grapes have a low glycemic index.

Serve yourself colored patters of fresh fruits and vegetables:

 Eat at least live servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Mixing colors –eating from the rainbow –is a food way to nourish the brain. Strive to eat reds strawberries, raspberries, cherries, red peoples, yellow  bananas , peaches and yellows pepper, blues (blueberries), orange and greens (kale) collards, broccoli, spinach) , They are rich sources of antioxidants that help combat the highly reactive free radicals that can cause harm to the brain and threaten our brain power.

Supplement yourself with vitamin B:

These vitamins are an important part of a health brain diet as they feed and regulate the brain and the nervous system besides being important for a sharp memory. Folic acid helps in reducing the risk of depression, short –tern memory loss and dementia . Two other supplements that should be taken along with vitamin B are vitamins E and C. Studies reveal that taking the two together can protect against Alzheimer’s. Foods rich in vitamin B are the wholegrain, eggs, beans, fresh leafy vegetables and fortified cereals and grains.

Eat a handful of nuts:

Walnuts, almonds, cashew nuts and peanuts are excellent brain foods as they are made up of proteins and contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Vitamin E and vitamin B6. Each can improve your mental health and boost your memory in its own way.

The brain needs some minerals:

Minerals like boron, copper, zinc and magnesium are important for the normal efficient functioning of the brains. Raising apple, nuts and avocados are good sources of baron whereas fish, legumes and whole grains are sources of zinc, Seafood nuts and seeds, whole-grains and cereals supply copper.

Ensure enough iron in your food;

Eat iron rich foods such as lean meats beans, iron-fortified cereals, pomegranates, spinach, fenugreek, raising and black currants, iron helps transport oxygen to the brain cells and is necessary for healthy brain tissue and proper neurotransmitter functions, Lack of oxygen can lead to irritability, diminished mental alertness, poor concentration and low intelligence.

Increase water intake;

Adequate water to hydrate the brain is an extremely essential part of brain nutrition. Slight dehydration can be very damaging to the brain. Drink lots of water to keep your brain healthy.