Brain Boosting Food
As the holiday parties have taken over your calendar through the end of the year, it’s a good time to take note of ways we can stay sharp in the midst of the virtual fog of sugar and fat that surrounds this season. Some of our favorite foods and drinks can help keep us sharp. Here are a few brain boosting foods to keep us sharp for this season, and every season!
Another reason to love coffee. Coffee tops our list of brain boosters, as it helps with short term memory. Drinking too much, however, will defeat the purpose. Most researchers say one to two cups a day is sufficient to get the benefits coffee has to offer without crossing into the “too much of a good thing” category.
Caffeine has been shown to retard the aging process and enhance short-term memory performance. In one study, British researchers found that just one cup of coffee helps improve attention and problem-solving skills.
So, drink up…just not too much!
Blueberries. Doesn’t it seem that every year there’s another study reporting another benefit of eating blueberries? In this case, this antioxidant-filled fruit benefits our long term memory.
The antioxidants in blueberries help protect the brain from free-radical damage and cut your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. They can also improve cognitive processing (translation: thinking).
Apparently, wild blueberries are even better for us, if you can find them. In any case, eat up this tasty treat with no guilt and a sharper long term memory.
We always hear about fish being so good for us. Well, you’re about to hear even more. Salmon, the ultimate good-for-you fish, has components to help us think faster. In addition to to the niacin in salmon that helps prevent Alzheimer’s and slow the brain’s cognitive deterioration, the omega 3 fatty acids in it actually strengthen our thinking ability. So, if you’ve got a big presentation to give at school or at work, you may want to prepare some salmon for dinner the night before!
Salads can be full of food that is good for us in so many ways. Make it a high protein salad with vinaigrette and you’ll actually get more energy.
The oil in the dressing will help slow down digestion of protein and carbs in the salad, stabilizing blood-sugar levels and keeping energy levels high.
Adding chicken and eggs will not only make the salad more filling and more delicious, it’ll add to the energy you’ll have as a result.
Among their many health benefits, fat yogurt or mixed nuts provide tasty was to calm down. It’s true.
Scientists in Slovakia gave people 3 grams each of two amino acids—lysine and arginine—or a placebo, and asked them to deliver a speech. Blood measurements of stress hormones revealed that the amino acid-fortified guys were half as anxious during and after the speech as those who took the placebo.
Yogurt is a great source of lysine; and, nuts are full of arginine. Maybe lowfat yogurt with a few nuts on top could replace a glass of wine? Just a thought.
Peppermint tea is another way to calm down. Studies have shown that the very smell of peppermint helps us focus and improves our performance. It’s an easy and portable way to bring relaxation to the workplace!
Spinach, arugula, chard and other leafy greens will not only make your body feel good; they’ll lift your emotions. Leafy greens are rich in B vitamins, and B vitamins are critical in producing hormones that make us feel good, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. One study showed that people who were lacking vitamin B6 were more likely to be nervous, irritable and depressed. Who would have ever known that a good salad could make you happy in so many ways!
Don’t let the traditional foods served around the holidays keep you from enjoying the food that will keep you sharp all year long.