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Eight Fruits and Veggies that Boost Your Brain Health

Eight Fruits and Veggies that Boost Your Brain Health

There are an estimated 47.5 million (World Health Organization: Dementia Fact Sheet) people worldwide who currently suffer from dementia. The latest U.S. study indicates that 8.8 percent (CNN: US dementia rates drop 24%) of people 65 or older will develop some form of this degenerative brain disease.

Fortunately, you have the opportunity to take proactive steps that can minimize your risk of suffering from dementia and other brain health related issues in the future. Daily exercise and keeping your mind active with mentally challenging and stimulating activities is important, but you also need to pay close attention to your diet. By eating the right fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, you can help safeguard your cognitive future.

1. Blueberries

    A research study conducted by Tufts University discovered that blueberries are extremely helpful for boosting brain health and coordination. In fact, eating one cup of blueberries per day (Tufts University e-News: Researchers at Tufts University Report Blueberries May Reduce Memory Loss) was found to improve short-term memory and reverse motor function deficits. Blueberries are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, which makes them an excellent choice for a daily snack. Keep in mind that a cup of blueberries contains thirteen grams of sugar, so you may want to split your daily serving into two snacks if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia.

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    2. Tomatoes

      People are often afraid of the word fat, especially in relation to their food, but the reality is that the brain needs certain fats to function properly. Additionally, you need carotenoids to protect the fat in your brain. This is where tomatoes come in because they are an extremely good source of carotenoids and antioxidants. Therefore, whenever you eat tomatoes, you’re giving your brain the ability to fight inflammation. In turn, this helps reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.(Psychology Today: Fat Brains Need… Tomatoes)

      3. Broccoli

        This cruciferous vegetable packs a powerful punch and is often referred to as a superfood. Not only does it offer a surprisingly large amount of Vitamin C but broccoli also contains choline and Vitamin K. Both of these nutrients are essential for brain health, and they are known to improve memory. (The Telegraph: Brain Food Six Snacks That Are Good for the Mind) Another great feature of broccoli is the high amount of folic acid in each serving. Evidence shows that folic acid may ward off Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s also useful for reducing depression.

        4. Avocados

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          This tasty fruit contains monounsaturated fat, crucial for maintaining a healthy blood flow. (WebMD: Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain) Avocados can also reduce risk of hypertension, one of the health factors that is known to directly contribute to cognitive issues. In other words, when you eat an avocado, you’re helping your brain stay strong. Please note that avocados are unusually high in calories for a fruit, so it’s best to cut them in half and enjoy them over a two-day time span.

          5. Celery

            Celery has much more to offer than a satisfying crunch; it’s also packed full of the flavonoid luteolin. Flavonoids help cells fight off the aging process, and they also reduce inflammation in the body. Another nice perk of adding celery to your diet is that there is some evidence that luteolin can help combat neurological diseases. (Huffington Post: Can Celery Keep Your Brain in Shape?) It’s important to note that reducing inflammation is one of the best ways to retain cognitive functionality.

            6. Spinach

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              Much like broccoli, spinach is rich in Vitamin K. This means that adding a single serving of spinach to your daily routine could slow or prevent cognitive decline as you get older. Researchers from Chicago’s Rush University took a close look at the dietary habits and cognitive functionality of more than 950 elderly individuals. During this study, they discovered that eating spinach every day provides people with the same level of mental clarity and cognitive skills as someone more than a decade younger who doesn’t eat leafy greens. (Huffington Post: Eating a Serving of Spinach Every Day Could Make Your Brain 11 Years Younger) In other words, spinach has the potential to keep your brain health much younger than your actual age.

              7. Carrots

                If you’re not a fan of celery, you can get the same luteolin benefits by eating carrots instead. Again, a study has shown that increasing your intake of luteolin can reduce brain inflammation. As a result, it’s easier to retain and recall information.(LiveScience: Plant Compound in Carrots Boosts Brain Health) Memory loss is one of the first signs of cognitive decline, so warding it off is something that everyone should strive for as part of their overall wellness goals. After all, getting physically healthy is only half the battle if you want a long and enjoyable life.

                8. Apples

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                  As it turns out, an apple a day really may be able to keep the doctor away. This fruit is loaded with important nutrients that can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. As an added bonus, apples include a hearty amount of quercetin which is concentrated in the skin of the fruit. This antioxidant acts as a defensive barrier between your brain cells and attacks from free radicals. (CNN: 10 Foods to Help Boost Your Brain Power) Getting enough quercetin on a daily basis can prevent cognitive decline.

                  All of the vegetables and fruits mentioned above have enough nutrients to provide a wide variety of health benefits. Therefore, they’re great for boosting your brain health, and they’ll also help you in numerous other ways such as giving you a lower cancer risk. If you’re struggling to get the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, be sure to check out 10 creative and healthy ways to cook them.

                  Featured Photos Credit: Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic via WikiMedia Commons, swong95765 via Flickr, sharonang via pixabay, Chad Miller via Flickr, Suzette via Wikimedia Commons, kkolosov via pixabay, Di Angelo Signore via Wikimedia Commons, Anthony Thomas Bueta via Flickr.

                  Featured photo credit: Tomas Kohl via flic.kr

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                  Last Updated on October 29, 2018

                  What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It)

                  What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It)

                  Brain fog is more of a symptom than a medical condition itself, but this doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Brain fog is a cognitive dysfunction, which can lead to memory problems, lack of mental clarity and an inability to focus.

                  Many often excuse brain fog for a bad day, or get so used to it that they ignore it. Unfortunately, when brain fog is ignored it ends up interfering with work and school. The reason many ignore it is because they aren’t fully aware of what causes it and how to deal with it.

                  It’s important to remember that if your brain doesn’t function fully — nothing else in your life will. Most people have days where they can’t seem to concentrate or forget where they put their keys.

                  It’s very normal to have days where you can’t think clearly, but if you’re experiencing these things on a daily basis, then you’re probably dealing with brain fog for a specific reason.

                  So what causes brain fog? It can be caused by a string of things, so we’ve made a list things that causes brain fog and how to prevent it and how to stop it.

                  1. Stress

                  It’s no surprise that we’ll find stress at the top of the list. Most people are aware of the dangers of stress. It can increase blood pressure, trigger depression and make us sick as it weakens our immune system.

                  Another symptom is mental fatigue. When you’re stressed your brain can’t function at its best. It gets harder to think and focus, which makes you stress even more.

                  Stress can be prevented by following some simple steps. If you’re feeling stressed you should avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine — even though it may feel like it helps in the moment. Two other important steps are to indulge in more physical activities and to talk to someone about it.

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                  Besides that, you can consider keeping a stress diary, try relaxation techniques like mediation, getting more sleep and maybe a new approach to time management.

                  2. Diet

                  Most people know that the right or wrong diet can make them gain or loss weight, but not enough people think about the big impact a specific diet can have on one’s health even if it might be healthy.

                  One of the most common vitamin deficiencies is vitamin B12 deficiency and especially vegans can be get hid by brain fog, because their diet often lacks the vitamin B-12. The vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to mental and neurological disorders.

                  The scary thing is that almost 40 % of adults are estimated to lack B12 in their diet. B12 is found in animal products, which is why many vegans are in B12 deficiency, but this doesn’t mean that people need animal products to prevent the B12 deficiency. B12 can be taken as a supplement, which will make the problem go away.

                  Another vital vitamin that can cause brain fog is vitamin D. More than 1 billion people worldwide don’t have enough vitamin D in their diet. Alongside B12 and vitamin D is omega-3, which because of its fatty acids helps the brain function and concentrate. Luckily, both vitamin D and omega-3 can be taken as supplements.

                  Then there’s of course also the obvious unhealthy foods like sugar. Refined carbohydrates like sugar will send your blood sugar levels up, and then send you right back down. This will lead to brain fog, because your brain uses glucose as its main source of fuel and once you start playing around with your brain — it gets confused.

                  Besides being hit by brain fog, you’ll also experience tiredness, mood swings and mental confusion. So, if you want to have clear mind, then stay away from sugar.

                  Sometimes the same type of diet can be right for some and wrong for others. If you’re experiencing brain fog it’s a good idea to seek out your doctor or a nutritionist. They can take some tests and help you figure out which type of diet works best for your health, or find out if you’re lacking something specific in your diet.

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                  3. Allergies

                  If you have food allergies, or are simply a bit sensitive to specific foods, then eating those foods can lead to brain fog. Look out for dairy, peanuts and aspartame that are known to have a bad effect on the brain.

                  Most people get their calories from corn, soy and wheat — and big surprise — these foods are some of the most common foods people are allergic to. If you’re in doubt, then you can look up food allergies[1] and find some of the most common symptoms.

                  If you’re unsure about being allergic or sensitive, then you can start out by cutting out a specific food from your diet for a week or two. If the brain fog disappears, then you’re most likely allergic or sensitive to this food. The symptoms will usually go away after a week or two once you remove the trigger food from the diet.

                  If you still unsure, then you should seek out the help of your doctor.

                  4. Lack of sleep

                  All of us know we need sleep to function, but it’s different for everybody how much sleep they need. A few people can actually function on as little as 3-4 hours of sleep every night, but these people are very, very rare.

                  Most people need 8 to 9 hours of sleep. If you don’t get the sleep you need, then this will interfere with your brain and you may experience brain fog.

                  Instead of skipping a few hours of sleep to get ahead of things you need to do, you’ll end up taking away productive hours from your day, because you won’t be able to concentrate and your thoughts will be cloudy.

                  Many people have trouble sleeping but you can help improve your sleep by a following a few simple steps.

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                  There is the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise, which is a technique that regulates your breath and helps you fall asleep faster. Another well-known technique is to avoid bright lights before you go to sleep.

                  A lot of us are guilty of falling asleep with the TV on or with our phone right by us, but the blue lights from these screens suppresses the production of melatonin in our bodies, which actually makes us stay awake longer instead. If you’re having trouble going to sleep without doing something before you close your eyes, then try taking up reading instead.

                  If you want to feel more energized throughout the day, start doing this.

                  5. Hormonal changes

                  Brain fog can be triggered by hormonal changes. Whenever your levels of progesterone and estrogen increases, you may experience short-term cognitive impairment and your memory can get bad.

                  If you’re pregnant or going through menopause, then you shouldn’t worry too much if your mind suddenly starts to get a bit cloudy. Focus on keeping a good diet, getting enough of sleep and the brain fog should pass once you’re back to normal.

                  6. Medication

                  If you’re on some medication, then it’s very normal to start experiencing some brain fog.

                  You may start to forget things that you used to be able to remember, or you get easily confused. Maybe you can’t concentrate the same way that you used to. All of these things can be very scary, but you shouldn’t worry too much about it.

                  Brain fog is a very normal side effect of drugs, but by lowering your dosage or switching over to another drug; the side effect can’t often be improved and maybe even completely removed.

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                  7. Medical condition

                  Brain fog can often be a symptom of a medical condition. Medical conditions that include inflammation, fatigue, changes in blood glucose level are known to cause brain fog.

                  Conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, anemia, depression, diabetes, migraines, hypothyroidism, Sjögren syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Lupus and dehydration can all cause brain fog.[2]

                  The bottom line

                  If you haven’t been diagnosed, then never start browsing around Google for the conditions and the symptoms. Once you start looking for it; it’s very easy to (wrongfully) self-diagnose.

                  Take a step back, put away the laptop and relax. If you’re worried about being sick, then always check in with your doctor and take it from there.

                  Remember, the list of things that can cause brain fog is long and it can be something as simple as the wrong diet or not enough sleep.

                  Featured photo credit: Asdrubal luna via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1]Food Allergy: Common Allergens
                  [2]HealthLine: 6 Possible Causes of Brain Fog

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