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Want Better Focus And Memory? 10 Foods To Boost Your Brainpower

Want Better Focus And Memory? 10 Foods To Boost Your Brainpower

Your food choices have a huge influence on your health and vitality. Some foods can help to protect your organs, whereas other types of food will damage and weaken your organs – including your brain.

Your brain is one your most important organs, yet damage to the brain can be impossible to repair. Thankfully certain foods can help to protect and strengthen the brain, reducing the chances of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

If you want to boost your brain power, try to include these 10 foods in your diet:

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1. Avocado
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    Some people avoid avocados due to their high fat content, but they are great for the brain. Avocados are filled with both folate and vitamin K, which help to improve cognitive function and prevent blood clots in the brain.

    2. Coconut oil
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      Coconut oil is known for its numerous benefits, including helping to boost brain power. This is because coconut oil can enhance the ability of neurons in the brain while slowing the production of free radicals that can damage the brain. They also contain saturated fat and antioxidants, which is an essential nutrient for brain function.[1]

      3. Beets
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        Beets contain natural nitrates that help to boost blood flow to the brain, improving mental performance. They also reduce inflammation in the body and they are filled with antioxidants that help to rid your blood of toxins.

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        4. Blueberries
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          Blueberries are known as a super food, so it may come as no surprise that they can benefit your brain. Blueberries are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods, containing vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber and gallic acid, which protects the brain from degeneration and stress, helping to improve memory.[2]

          5. Dark Chocolate
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            Dark chocolate is good for the body and brain in small quantities. This is because it is filled with flavonols which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure and improve the flow of blood to the brain.

            However it is import to make sure that you buy dark chocolate; both milk and white chocolate are highly processed and they won’t benefit your brain. Look out for chocolate that is at least 70% if you want to boost brain power!

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            6. Leafy Greens
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              Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, romaine lettuce and Swiss chard are great for your brain; recent research has found that they can even help to reduce the chances of dementia.

              The research looked at the eating habits and mental abilities of nearly 1,000 adults over a period of five years. The researchers found that adults who ate leafy green vegetables at least once a day experienced slower mental deterioration that the adults who ate no vegetables.[3] This was still true even when the researchers factored in age and family history of dementia.

              7. Wild salmon
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                Wild salmon is a great source of omega-3 oil DHA, which helps to boost brain power. DHA is an important oil that helps to maintain the health of your brain cells – it even helps to increase the growth of brain cells. This can help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.[4]

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                8. Almonds
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                  Almonds, much like wild salmon, contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids that benefit the brain and boost brain power. Almonds also contain vitamin E which helps to further protect the brain.

                  9. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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                    Extra virgin oil can help to boost brain power as it contains antioxidants known as polyphenols. Polyphenols can help to improve both learning and memory, and they can even reverse the effects of age and disease. Extra virgin olive oil also fights against the proteins that induce Alzheimer’s.

                    10. Turmeric
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                      Turmeric can help to reduce inflammation in the brain, and recent studies have even suggested that it can be used to treat Alzheimer’s [5]. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in the fight against brain degeneration; researchers have found Vedic texts that date back over 3,000 reporting that turmeric can boost brain power!

                      Reference

                      [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4247320/
                      [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850944/
                      [3] https://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-aging-news-10/lots-of-leafy-greens-might-shield-aging-brains-study-finds-697909.html
                      [4] http://www.drperlmutter.com/study/fish-consumption-and-the-risk-of-alzheimer-disease/
                      [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/

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                      Amy Johnson

                      Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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                      Last Updated on June 6, 2019

                      Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

                      Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

                      In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

                      Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

                      Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

                      Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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                         A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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                        The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

                        “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

                        In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

                        The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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                          A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

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                          Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

                          “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

                          When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

                          The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

                          As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

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                          “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

                          Silence relieves stress and tension.

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                            It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

                            A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

                            “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

                            Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

                            Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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                              The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

                              Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

                              But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

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                              Summation

                              Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

                              Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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