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5 Foods You Must Eat for Maximum Brain Power

5 Foods You Must Eat for Maximum Brain Power

Human intelligence is a beautiful thing. It’s the reason we’re all still here today, and why we continue to do so, so successfully.

However, it doesn’t only help us as a whole – but also individually. How smart you are, and how you choose to apply it can change your situation dramatically for the better.

So what’s the secret to being the sharpest tool in the box? How do you get the most out of your brain?

There are so many answers to this question—mainly suggesting that you solve daily brain-teasers, get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly.

But what about the food you eat? Sure, a healthy diet plays a big part in how your brain performs – but are there any foods in particular that you could be added to your plate that could give you that extra edge?

In this article, we look closely at the top 5 foods that you could be eating to improve your brain and it’s performance.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Almonds

    Credit: Flickr.com, HealthAliciousNess

    Almonds are arguably the best type of nut you could be eating for brain power – and this is why you need more of them.

    Reason #1 – It’s a lean protein

    Protein is a part of the core foundation of your diet. It helps to promote energy levels and helps to rebuild muscle mass after a workout.

    But did you know that it can also help rebuild brain cells?

    The protein that almonds provide also helps to improve and repair brain cells,[1] which can help with both your overall cognition, and memory.

    Reason #2 – It’s full of Zinc

    Zinc is a great mineral for your body and your mind. The main reason it’s so good is that it helps to strengthen your immune system.

    By keeping the illnesses at bay, you’ll have less chance of suffering the cloudy mind that comes with a cold or flu.

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    Not only that, it’s a potent antioxidant. This means its good at stopping free radicals in your blood stream.

    These are essentially weak molecular bonds in your body that split. The problem is they’re unbalanced, which can lead to them breaking down brain cells.

    To counter this, zinc can inhibit these free radicals and stop them from doing further damage, allowing you to retain more brain power.

    Reason #3 – It contains both Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E

    You don’t need me to tell you how good vitamins are for your overall health – but how do they help your brain?

    Vitamin B6 has been seen to help promote overall brain health. Whereas Vitamin E has been seen to lessen cognitive decline and the aging of brain cells.

    Reason #4 – Fatty Acids

    Almonds are packed with fatty acids – which is serious fuel for your brain.

    Fatty acids have been seen to not only help with overall brain health, but to also strengthen nerves in the brain.

    It’s a powerful addition.

    2. Dark Chocolate

      Credit: Flickr.com, Urban Wired

      Despite what you may hear about chocolate being bad – dark chocolate has numerous health benefits.

      It’s lower in sugar, higher in cocoa and can help your brain for numerous reasons.

      Reason #1: Tryptophan

      Dark chocolate is rich in Tryptophan, an amino acid that is linked to both releasing serotonin (the ‘feel-good’ hormone) and endorphins in your body.

      This can help to greatly influence your mood and give you that extra motivation and confidence in yourself to complete tasks more thoroughly.

      Reason #2: Flavonoids

      Flavonoids are components found in dark chocolate that help to increase overall blood flow to the brain.

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      With more blood rushing to your brain, the better it can operate. One of the main advantages to better brain circulation is improved short term memory and focus.

      Reason #3: Antioxidants

      Like we’ve already mentioned when we talked about almonds, antioxidants are great for your brainpower.

      By controlling unattached oxygen molecules, known as free radicals, the antioxidants in dark chocolate can help to neutralize them.

      This reduces the damage it can cause to your brain cells.

      Reason #4: Magnesium

      Rich in the mineral magnesium, dark chocolate is great for reducing stress.

      Magnesium has been linked to helping lower cortisol in your body – the stress hormone.

      The more stressed you are, the higher your cortisol levels will be. High cortisol can stop your focus and concentration and make you feel distracted and pressured.

      With less cortisol, you feel calmer and better throughout the day.

      3. Broccoli

        Credit: Flickr.com, Steven Lilley

        Now there’s a new reason you should always eat your greens. Broccoli isn’t just good for overall health, but it’s great for your cognition too.

        Reason #1: Choline

        This is a great nutrient. Choline is a molecule that does wonders for your cognition.

        After being ingested, choline is converted in CDP-choline, a neurotransmitter that promotes both learning and focus.

        It’s a solid choice for brain development, and something you want to be getting a lot of in your diet.

        Reason #2: Anti-inflammatory Properties

        Another benefit of broccoli is its ability to reduce inflammation.

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        Typically when you hear inflammation, it’s easy to think of swollen joints or bloating – but it can also help your brain as well.

        By reducing inflammation, broccoli can help support sensitive areas of your brain and prevent against cognitive decline.

        4. Rhodiola Rosea

          Credit: Flickr.com, Tero Laakso

          Rhodiola Rosea is a Scandinavian herb. There are numerous health websites out there like Muxcle.com that recommend Rhodiola Rosea as a nootropic.

          This isn’t a food you’ll typically find in your diet – but if you want to go the extra mile and supplement it, your brain is going to thank you.

          Reason #1: Mood

          One of the main benefits of Rhodiola Rosea is the effect it can have on your mood.

          Numerous studies have shown that this herb has been seen to raise feelings of ‘well-being’ in subjects while also reducing stress levels and depression.[2]

          This allows you to have a more positive outlook on your day, and get more done.

          Reason #2: Mind

          Another reason why Rhodiola Rosea is so popular is that it can also help reduce fatigue and improve memory.[3]

          This makes your mind a lot sharper and allows you to continue being productive for longer.

          How much Rhodiola Rosea should you use?

          As this isn’t a typical food, it can be hard to know where to start with Rhodiola Rosea – and you don’t need much.

          Some recommend taking 288 – 680mg per day of the herb; this is more than enough to have an effective impact. When it comes to herbs and supplements, you should always consult your physician to determine what dosage you should take (or if you should take it at all).

          5. Blueberries

            Credit: Flickr.com, mellow-stuff mie

            Finally we have blueberries. This fruit isn’t just great as a snack or in a smoothie – it’s also great brain food.

            Here’s how something as delcious and as simple as blueberries can take your cognition to the next level.

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            Reason #1: Antioxidants

            As with almonds and dark chocolate, blueberries are another food that contains antioxidants.

            This can help to control any free radicals in your bloodstream and can help reduce damage to your brain cells.

            Reason #2: Anti-Inflammatory Properties

            Like broccoli, blueberries are a great anti-inflammatory. Much like broccoli, this can help with inflammation in certain areas of your brain.

            This can help with memory formation and in making your brain more effective as a whole.

            Reason #3: Anthocyanin

            Blueberries also contain Anthocyanin. This is great for long-term cognitive benefits.

            Anthocyanin has been seen in several studies to help as a natural aid for reducing the chances of Alzheimers in later life.[4]

            It’s a good nutrient to have on board.

            5 Foods You Must Eat for Maximum Brain Power Review Conclusion

            As you can see, if you’re looking to sharpen your mind, there are several foods you can start eating today to further your mental agility.

            One of the main things you need to remember is that antioxidants are your friend.

            Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables that are packed with these nutrients and let your brain do the rest.

            As a safety reminder, please consult your physician before taking any herbs or supplements.

            Featured photo credit: Flickr.com via flickr.com

            Reference

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            Saul McArthur

            Copywriter

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            Published on July 7, 2020

            Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

            Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

            Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

            Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

            The Skinny on Mental Workouts

            Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

            Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

            1. Improved Memory

            After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

            2. Reduced Stress Levels

            Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

            3. Improved Work Performance

            Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

            4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

            As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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            Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

            Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

            The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

            1. Brainstorming

            One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

            If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

            2. Dancing

            Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

            Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

            3. Learning a New Language

            Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

            With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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            4. Developing a Hobby

            Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

            If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

            For example:

            • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
            • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
            • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
            • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

            Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

            5. Board Games

            Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

            Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

            6. Card Games

            Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

            A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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            7. Puzzles

            Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

            Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

            8. Playing Music

            Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

            Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

            What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

            9. Meditating

            Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

            Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

            • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
            • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
            • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
            • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
            • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
            • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

            10. Deep Conversation

            There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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            Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

            11. Cooking

            When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

            If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

            12. Mentorship

            Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

            Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

            Final Thoughts

            Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

            To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

            More Tips for Training Your Brain

            Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

            Reference

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