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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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                  Holly Chavez

                  Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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                  Last Updated on July 11, 2019

                  10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind

                  10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind

                  If you have watched movies like Limitless[1] (both the movie and television series) and Lucy,[2] then you have likely come across smart drugs or nootropics. In the movie Limitless, you are introduced to NZT-48 (known as MDT-48 in the book The Dark Fields), which grants heightened intellectual abilities allowing one to pattern-match at lighting speed.

                  In the movie Lucy, you are introduced to the drug CPH4, which is actually based on a molecule that a pregnant woman produces after six weeks of pregnancy. The director of Lucy, Luc Besson, remarked,[3]

                  “But it’s totally real, and it’s true that the power of this product for a baby is the power of an atomic bomb. It’s real. It’s totally real. So its not a drug in fact, it’s a natural molecule that pregnant women produce.”

                  NZT-48 is fictional and CPH4 is a fictional drug based on a real substance. So, are there any real life smart drugs or brain boosters similar to either fictional drug? The answer is no. But powerful cognitive enhancing drugs do exist. And they are Nootropics.

                  Nootropics

                  Nootropics was coined by Romanian psychologist Corneliu E. Giurgea in 1972. The etymology of the word is nous or mind and trepein or to bend.[4] According to Smart Drug Smarts, nootropics is an umbrella term for a class of chemicals, some naturally-occurring and some man-made, that give cognitive benefits to the human brain. To be a nootropic, Giurgea found that the substance must meet five specific criteria:[5]

                  1. Enhance memory and ability to learn.
                  2. Help the brain function under disruptive conditions.
                  3. Protect the brain from chemical and physical assaults.
                  4. Increase the efficacy of neuronal firing control mechanisms.
                  5. Possess few or no side effects and be virtually non-toxic.

                  Let’s now examine the 10 best brain power supplements that will supercharge your mind and 4 bonus tips (in no particular order – meaning #1 is not better than #2 nor #10). Very few of the brain boosters listed can be purchased in a local brick and mortar store.

                  For most, you will have to place an order online. However, be extremely cautious and diligently research each prior to ordering.

                  For a more detailed breakdown of each brain booster in the form of a wiki, I recommend visiting the website BrainTropic[6]. I will provide a summary for each smart drug below. Summaries will be from BrainTropic unless otherwise stated. In addition, visit my website (you can find the link in my bio) as I regularly write and provide advice on nootropics.

                  *Some of the supplements listed require a prescription and could be harmful. Consult with your doctor before consumption.

                  1. Qualia Mind

                  Qualia Mind is an extremely powerful smart drug created by Neurohacker packed with a variety of nootropics. It is a multi-nootropic leading to potential neurochemical and physiological enhancements.

                  Qualia Mind is specifically designed to lift brain fog, amplify willpower, upgrade energy, heighten creativity, and promote mental clarity. No prescription is required.

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                  Side effects: headaches, sleep disturbance, muscle tightness, and upset stomach.

                  Summary
                  • Type: Multi-Nootropic (crucial ingredients include: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, DL-Phenylalanine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Taurine, L-Theanine, Alpha GPC, Citicoline, Anhydrous Caffeine, Huperzine A, and more)
                  • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
                  • Typical Dose: 7 capsules per day (maximum of 12)
                  • Half-life: 4-6 hours

                  You can learn more about Qualia Mind in Neurohacker.

                  2. Modafinil

                  Modafinil is a stimulant to treat narcolepsy and has been shown to enhance our cognitive functions. Sold under the names Vigil, Nuvigil or Provigil, has became one of the most popular cognitive enhancing drugs on the market.

                  Bio-hacker and founder of Bulletproof Coffee, Dave Asprey, is just one of many advocating the drug. Some think Modafinil inspired the movie Limitless. For more on this discussion, read I Spent a Week on Nuvigil, the Drug From ‘Limitless’ and Modafinil: My Experience with the Real Life Limitless Pill by Joen Rude Falsner. Falsner remarked about Modafinil, it’s “Sort of like a real life pop-up blocker…”

                  In the US, Modafinil is classified as Schedule IV Controlled Substance and a prescription is required for it. Potential side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, and trouble sleeping.

                  Bonus Tip: Top Modafinil researchers have found that Modafinil combined with coffee can create a powerful combination.[7]

                  Summary
                  • Type: Stimulant
                  • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
                  • Typical Dose: 50-200mg
                  • Half-life: 15 hours

                  3. Adrafinil

                  Adrafinil is a stimulant that can increase energy and prevent fatigue. It is metabolized and converted into Modafinil. In fact, the effects are similar to Modafinil; however, it is not as strong. No prescription is required for Adrafinil in the US, Canada, or the UK.

                  Potential side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, and trouble sleeping.

                  Summary
                  • Type: Stimulant
                  • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
                  • Typical Dose: 150-600mg
                  • Half-life: 1 hour

                  4. Noopept

                  According to braintropic.com, Noopept is a powerful synthetic nootropic with cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective properties. It was developed in Russia in the mid-1990s and is used as a prescription treatment for cognitive impairments. Researchers found that, in animal studies, Noopept has been shown to stimulate the expression of two chemicals: Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).[8]

                  Potential side effects: headaches, restlessness, dizziness, and irritability.

                  Summary
                  • Type: Peptide
                  • Good for: Anxiety, Energy, Focus, Learning and Memory
                  • Typical Dose: 10-20 mg
                  • Half-life: 30-60 minutes

                  5. Adderall

                  Adderall is a stimulant used to treat those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall primarily increases the release to two specific neurotransmitters involved with ADHD: dopamine and norepinephrine.

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                  For an interesting read on what Adderall does to the brain – to include a good discussion of the benefits and side effects of the drug – read What adderall does to your brain by Daniela Hernandez. Similar to Modafinil, some think the movie Limitless was inspired by Adderall.

                  For more on this discussion, read Limitless: The Brain-Doping Movie We All Know Was Inspired by Adderall and The Drug From Limitless Is Available for Purchase on Your College Campus.

                  Adderall is considered a Schedule II Controlled Substance and a prescription is required for it. This means anyone caught in possession of it without a prescription could face criminal charges. Potential side effects: irregular heartbeat, paranoia, headaches, restlessness, dizziness, lack of appetite, high risk of dependency, and irritability.

                  Summary[9]
                  • Type: Stimulant
                  • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
                  • Typical Dose: 5-40 mg (Adderall XR is 5-60 mg)
                  • Half-life: 4-6 hours (Adderall XR is 6-8 hours)

                  6. Oxiracetam

                  Oxiracetam was developed in the 1970s and is a synthetic derivative of the original nootropic – Piracetam. However, according to braintropic.com, Oxiracetam is more potent than Piracetam. Oxiracetam has been studied for treatment with those suffering from Alzheimer’s or memory.[10] No prescription is required for Oxiracetam.

                  Potential side effects: no serious side effects – the most commonly reported side effect is headache.

                  Summary
                  • Type: Ampakine and Racetam
                  • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning and Memory
                  • Typical Dose: 400-2400 mg
                  • Half-life: 8 hours

                  7. Bulletproof Coffee

                  Dave Asprey (also an advocate for Modafinil) is the creator of Bulletproof Coffee. Asprey contends that Bulletproof Coffee is clean and tested for toxins.

                  However, when you first read about Bulletproof Coffee, you hear about the combination of Butter – Oil – Coffee. That can’t be a good combination, right?

                  Wrong. It is.

                  Bulletproof Coffee has been found to help with weight loss, boost cognitive functioning, maintain mental clarity, and decrease brain fog. For more on Bulletproof Coffee, read What It’s Like To Drink Bulletproof Coffee Every Morning For Two Weeks by Chris Gayomali. Potential side effects: restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and rapid heart rate.

                  Summary[11]
                  • Type: Stimulant
                  • Good for: Mental Clarity, Decrease Brain Fog, and Weight Loss
                  • Typical Dose: Varies by type of coffee (e.g. Coffee Pods or Brew)
                  • Half-life: Varies

                  8. Cellucor C4 Ultimate

                  Cellucor C4 Ultimate is a powerful pre workout supplement. It provides an instant cognitive boost so that you can not only get the most out of your exercise training sessions, but also maximize your ability to learn (even during exercise).

                  C4 Ultimate should be consumed 20-30 minutes prior to training. No prescription is required for C4 Ultimate.

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                  Potential side effects: insomnia, diarrhea, dehydration, headaches, high blood pressure, and tingly or prickly sensations. To counter these side effects, read Pre-Workout Supplements: 6 Side Effects and How To Avoid Them by Matt Weik.

                  Summary[12]
                  • Type: Pre Workout (crucial ingredients include: Vitamin C, Vitamins B6 and B12, Niacin, Citrulline Malate, Caffeine Anhydrous, Taurine, Beta-Alanine, Creatine Nitrate, and N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine)
                  • Good for: Energy, Pumps, Endurance, and Physical Performance
                  • Typical Dose: 1 scoop with water
                  • Half-life: Varies

                  You can get Cellucor C4 Ultimate at Cellucor.

                  9. Piracetam

                  Piracetam is the first synthetic smart drug developed and is the compound that inspired the term nootropic. It was invented by the same individual who coined the term nootropic – Dr. Giurgea.

                  According to Brain Tropic, Piracetam works by improving blood flow in the brain, boosts the production of crucial brain chemicals, and increases synaptic plasticity.[13] It requires a prescription in the UK and Australia and cannot be legally marketed in the US as a dietary supplement.

                  Potential side effects: no serious side effects – the most commonly reported side effect is headache.

                  Summary
                  • Type: Ampakine and Racetam
                  • Good for: Learning and Memory
                  • Typical Dose: 1600-4800 mg
                  • Half-life: 4-5 hours

                  10. Qualia Focus

                  Qualia Focus is another product offered by Neurohacker. It too is a multi-nootropic with powerful cognitive enhancements. While it is not as strong as Qualia Mind, it still upgrades your energy, heightens creativity, and promotes mental clarity at a lower cost than Qualia Mind. No prescription is required.

                  Side effects: headaches, sleep disturbance, muscle tightness, and upset stomach.

                  Summary
                  • Type: Multi-Nootropic (crucial ingredients include: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, DL-Phenylalanine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Taurine, L-Theanine, Alpha GPC, Citicoline, Coffeeberry Energy, Ginko Biloba Leaf Extract, Huperzine A, and more)
                  • Good for: Focus and Concentration, Memory, and Energy
                  • Typical Dose: 5 capsules per day (maximum of 9)
                  • Half-life: 4-6 hours

                  You can learn more about Qualia Focus in Neurohacker.

                  While the brain boosters listed above are not the smart drugs in Limitless or Lucy, they still provide you phenomenal results. To find out which of the 10 are the best for you, I suggest you do the following:

                  1. Research each one diligently
                  2. Test them out for yourself
                  3. Try the following Bonus Tips along with your brain booster. In doing so, you will discover a pop-up blocker for your brain!

                  Bonus Tips

                  1. Take antacids to increase potency

                  To increase the potency of a brain booster, ingest alkaline substances like antacids such as Tums or Alka-Seltzer. Read A Brief Guide to Non-medical Psychostimulant Use for more information.

                  You should consult with your doctor as there could be serious side effects.

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                  2. Take on an empty stomach

                  You should take your brain booster on an empty stomach as this will further potentiate both the duration and effect of the drug. The exceptions are Qualia Mind and Focus. I recommend taking both with food as this will cause an upset stomach.

                  However, you should consult with your doctor prior to taking any of the brain boosters listed and to identify the proper way to take each.

                  3. Adderall alarm clock

                  There is an interesting definition in the crowd-sourced online dictionary Urban Dictionary:[14]

                  The Adderall Alarm Clock is defined as setting an alarm for an hour before you have to get up; upon waking, roll over and take your prescription stimulant of choice and go back to sleep. In about an hour, you wake up naturally with a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

                  This actually works. Choose one of your brain boosters and try this out.

                  However, you should consult with your doctor prior to attempting this as there could be serious side effects.

                  4. Exercise sparks neurogenesis

                  Exercise alone will provide similar benefits and could be substituted for any of the brain boosters listed. Exercise plus brain boosters provide even more cognitive enhancing benefits.

                  One of the most powerful benefits exercise provides is that it sparks the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which brings about neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain.[15]

                  Dr. John Ratey discusses both neurogenesis and BDNF at length in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Ratey dubbed BDNF the master molecule and refers to it as “Miracle-Gro for the brain”. Linda Gabriel writes about BDNF in BDNF – Miracle-Gro for the Brain, “BDNF binds to receptors in the synapses between neurons, increasing voltage (yes your brain is electric!), and improving signal strength.”

                  Featured photo credit: Josh Riemer via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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