Have you ever shown up at the gym and pondered what to do that day? If so, maybe it’s time to fortify your diet with an arsenal of foods with proven brain-boosting powers. Indeed, mounting research is showing that various nutrients found in certain foods and drinks can help give you an edge. After all, lifting those heavy weights requires mind over matter.
So feed your brain by adding these items to your clean-eating program for a mental focus that’s as sharp as the cuts on your body.
BRAIN BOOSTER 1. SUNFLOWER SEEDS
Hey Einstein, eat more sunflower seeds and other vitamin-E-rich foods. A number of studies have linked higher intakes of vitamin E with improved brain functioning. Case in point: A paper published in the “Neurobiology of Aging” discovered that people with higher levels of vitamin E were up to 15 percent less likely to suffer cognitive impairment.
STUDIES HAVE LINKED HIGHER INTAKES OF SUNFLOWER SEEDS AND OTHER VITAMIN-E-RICH FOODS WITH IMPROVED BRAIN FUNCTIONING.
As a potent antioxidant, vitamin E can protect brain membranes from the oxidative damage inflicted by free radicals. Sadly, though, scientists at Tufts University determined that a mere 8 percent of men and 2.4 percent of women are meeting their vitamin E requirements, making it one of the most deficient nutrients in the American diet.
The seeds of this sun-worshiping plant are also a stellar source of thiamine, a B vitamin that helps your body’s cells convert carbohydrates into the energy your brain and muscles
BRAIN BOOSTER 2. EGGS
Eggs—more specifically the yolks—are your go-to source for choline. Though choline doesn’t get much ink, this essential nutrient is a known precursor for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in cognition and memory. So if you regularly forget where you put down those dumbbells, make sure to get cracking.
EGGS—MORE SPECIFICALLY THE YOLKS—ARE YOUR GO-TO SOURCE FOR CHOLINE.
Further, a Swiss study found that eating a breakfast that includes protein-rich foods such as eggs can enhance mental performance during the morning, possibly by improving blood-sugar numbers.
You can now seek out omega-3-enriched eggs for an extra dose of this brain-benefiting fat.
BRAIN BOOSTER 3. YERBA MATE
How? Well, it’s likely that naturally occurring stimulants in yerba mate such as theophylline work to crowd out the brain neurotransmitter adenosine, which acts as a central nervous depressant and thereby promotes fatigue.
The benefit of using yerba mate for a jolt of energy is that it doesn’t bring about the jitters in those who are susceptible to this unwelcome side-effect from drinking coffee. You can find loose-leaf or bagged yerba mate at many health-food shops or tea-focused stores.
BRAIN BOOSTER 4. BEETS
When it comes to brain health, red means go. Scientists at Wake Forest University determined that naturally occurring nitrates in beets and beet juice can increase blood flow to the noggin, which may help to improve mental performance and help combat cognitive decline.
The tastiest way to eat these flushed gems is roasted in the oven, but beet juice, which is particularly chock-a-block in nitrates, can be whizzed into protein shakes. You’ll also find nitrates in spinach.
A number of studies have shown that nitrate’s ability to bolster blood flow can also improve muscular performance during exercise.
BRAIN BOOSTER 5. WALNUTS
When crunch time comes, don’t forget to nosh on a handful of walnuts. Scientists at Tufts University discovered that a diet rich in walnuts may improve brain power, thereby making it easier for you to remember this list of brainy foods.
SCIENTISTS AT TUFTS UNIVERSITY DISCOVERED THAT A DIET RICH IN WALNUTS MAY IMPROVE BRAIN POWER, THEREBY MAKING IT EASIER FOR YOU TO REMEMBER THIS LIST OF BRAINY FOODS.
A synergy between the polyphenol antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts might be at work here to keep you as sharp as whip.
A recent study in “Metabolism Clinical and Experimental” showed that adults who consumed 1.5 ounces of walnuts every day for eight weeks significantly reduced cholesterol levels and decreased their risk for coronary heart disease.