Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 18, 2020

Stock up on These 9 Healthy Snack Foods to Boost Your Brainpower

Stock up on These 9 Healthy Snack Foods to Boost Your Brainpower

Brain food is food that is beneficial to the brain. Like our skin and our stomachs, certain foods contribute to the nourishment and treating of these areas of the body. The brain also needs certain foods to help boost its power so that we are functioning at our best daily. We should be stocking up on brain food!

The brain, the complex machine that controls our entire being, is actually easy to feed and nourish. Certain foods feed us nutrients and provide benefits that many of us are unaware of. For instance, Barbara Shukitt- Hale, USDA Nutrition Research Facility at Tufts University states the following about the nutrients we consume:

“Plants have developed mechanisms to deal with stresses in the environment. Because of sunlight, smog, and temperature they have developed antioxidant or anti- inflammatory capabilities. When we ingest them they are protective in our bodies as well.”

In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of healthy brain foods and will recommend to you the best 9 healthy snack foods to boost your brainpower!

The Importance of Brain Food and How it Helps The Brain

Our brains control everything that we do. Certain chemicals impact the way it works in good and bad ways. Brian food helps increase your intellectual power! According to an article published by Fernando Gomez- Pinilla, Departments of Neurosurgery and Physiological Science at UCLA:[1]

“Research over the past 5 years has provided exciting evidence for the influence of dietary factors on specific molecular systems and mechanisms that maintain mental function. For instance, a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids is garnering appreciation for supporting cognitive processes in humans and upregulating genes that are important for maintaining synaptic function and plasticity in rodents.”

The classical saying “you are what you eat” holds a lot of value and truth as proven by research. Here’s some insight:

Advertising

  • Amino Acids are derived from protein and help support and connect your neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters help keep the brain sharp — dopamine for nervous system function, serotonin for mood, memory, and learning, norepinephrine for alertness and concentration, and acetylcholine for storage and recollection of memory.
  • Glucose is what gives the brain energy. Brains get almost all of their energy from glucose.
  • Fatty Acids such as polyunsaturated, omega-3, and omega 6 help strengthen nerve cells which help strengthen memory.
  • Antioxidants inhibit oxidization. Antioxidants remove damaging oxidizing agents in living organism.

Lack of Brain Food and Its Effect on The Brain

I discussed the great impacts of brain food consumption for the brain. Lack of brain food will have a reverse impact. Lack of brain food can cause memory, cognitive, blood sugar imbalance, brain fog, nutrient deficiencies, and mood difficulty.

    Serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates sleep, appetite, and mood is produced in the gastrointestinal tract (the digestive track that takes food, digests, extracts, and absorbs the energy and nutrients from food consumption).

    Simply put, proper brain food is essential to your everyday health. Brain food is essential for a healthy digestive tract which is needed for healthy serotonin levels. Healthy serotonin levels are essential for healthy sleep, appetite, and mood.

    Other physical difficulties can result from lack of brain foods: blood pressure, increased acuteness, and irritability to name a few.

    Brain food is essential to our lives because they feed the machine that keep us going. Lack of brain food means lack of proper care for ourselves.

    What Foods Harm The Brain?

    It’s no secret that certain types of foods are bad for us in multiple ways. Healthy brain food consumption can be looked at and handled just like consuming food for weight loss. There are some foods that feed your entire being for overall health and many that you should stay away from in high quantities because they negatively impact your entire being, here are a few:

    Advertising

    • Sugary foods and beverages– higher sugar levels in the blood can increase the risk of dementia.
    • Trans and saturated fat– this one has been a known fact for weight; however, linked to the brain, observational studies have found an association between saturated fat intake and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
    • Refined Carbohydrates– this also includes sugar. Please note that refined carbs turn into sugar. This means that they turn into high glycemic food. Foods high in GL (glycemic load) have been found to impair brain function.
    • Aspartame– “but I’ve been told it’s a sweetener, a sugar substitute, and better than consuming sugar”. Aspartame is used as a sugar substitute more so for weight loss because it has 0 calories. It may be effective for weight loss; however, it is a food that can be harmful to the brain. Aspartame is a product made up of phenylalanine, methanol, and aspartic acid.[2]
    • Phenylalanine– can cross the blood-brain barrier and might disrupt the production of neurotransmitters- serotonin.[3]
    • Methanol– can cause metabolic acidosis causing central nervous system disturbances.[4]
    • Processed foods– generally the foods found in the middle of the grocery store, these foods tend to be high in fats, sugar, and salt. Not only do these foods cause weight gain, that gain is harmful to the brain.

    A study of 243 people found increased fat around the organs, or visceral fat, to be associated with brain tissue damage.[5][6]

    9 Healthy Foods to Boost Your Brainpower

    1. Avocado

    These amazing, green, circles/ovals of joy are packed with nutrients! If you like guacamole, then you like avocadoes! Avocado is a fruit consisting of healthy carbs, fat, and vitamins:

    • Vitamin K– synthesizes certain proteins that are prerequisites for blood coagulation.
    • Folate– one of the B-vitamins that is needed to make red and white blood cells in bone marrow, convert carbs to energy, and produce DNA.
    • Vitamin C– cannot be produced in the body therefore awareness on consumption is essential. Vitamin C is a necessary antioxidant for strengthening the body’s natural defenses, also known as immune system.
    • Potassium– a mineral and electrolyte, that produces electrical impulses around the body and assist with: blood pressure, muscle contractions, nerve impulses, digestion, and heart rhythm.
    • Vitamin B5– essential for the production of energy and breaking down fats and carbohydrates.
    • Vitamin B6– necessary for normal brain development and for keeping the nervous and immune system healthy.
    • Vitamin E– dissolves fat and supports vision, reproduction, and healthy blood, brain, and skin.

    2. Walnuts

    Understandably, those with nut allergies cannot consume walnuts.

    For those that can, walnuts provide amazing benefits, like having twice as many antioxidants than almonds and peanuts. These small nuts are packed with DHA (omega’s), protein and minerals.

    3. Spinach

    A study conducted by Rush University showed that people that 1-2 servings of greens, like spinach, for 5 years, had the cognitive abilities of someone 11 years younger.

    Spinach is loaded with vitamin K, folate, beta carotene (an antioxidant), and lutein (an antioxidant).

    4. Dark Chocolate

    This is a win. chocolate for brain food!

    Advertising

    Chocolate has high levels of flavanols. Dr. Bret S. Stetka, MD, states the following about flavanols:

    “These abundant phenolic plant compounds have marked antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are thought to be responsible for much of the health benefit ascribed to chocolate consumption”.

    Studies like the Swedish Mammography Cohort study found the following results:

    Increasing chocolate consumption by 50 g per week reduced

    • Cerebral infarction risk by 12%
    • Hemorrhagic stroke risk by 27%,
    • Total stroke risk by 14%

    5. Green Tea

    Green tea is known to be a powerful antioxidant beverage that helps improve brain function, contributes to fat loss, and reduces risk of cancer.

    Additionally, loaded with L-theanine (an amino acid), it increases dopamine.

    6. Kale

    Kale has so much of what we need in one bunch. Loaded with iron, folate, vitamin B6, and protein, it has everything that the brain needs to produce serotonin and dopamine.

    Advertising

    7. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants; however, have an added benefit- lycopene. Lycopene regulates the genes in the brain that influence inflammation and contribute to brain growth.

    8. Sage

    Besides adding amazing flavor, sage is makes for great brain food. It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Not only is it used for pain relief, but it also contributes to the enhancement of memory and cognitive abilities.

    9. Chia

    A little seed packed with huge benefits. Chia seeds are rich in DHA (omega)and a complete protein.

    This means that they carry 9 of the essential amino acids necessary to keep moods sable and brains functioning at their best.

    Conclusion

    Eating mindfully is essential for our well beings. Our brain control everything. We feed it knowledge, we also need to feed it proper nutrients. Stock up on these brain foods to keep that machine running at its best!

    Featured photo credit: Mohammad Jafar Mansuri via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Veronica Castillo

    Vee Castil; Resume & Career Writer ᛫ Traveler ᛫ Vegan ᛫ Weight Loss Success (-85lbs)

    10 Best Exercises to Lose Weight and Burn Fat at Home Stock up on These 9 Healthy Snack Foods to Boost Your Brainpower 17 Ideas to Get Motivated to Lose Weight Now Do Essential Oils for Weight Loss Actually Work? Tasty and Healthy Weight Loss Snacks to Reach Your Goals Fast

    Trending in Brain Power

    1 How to Use the 5 Whys to Get to the Root Cause of Any Problem 2 Do Memory Supplements Work? 10 Supplements to Boost Brain Power 3 10 Natural Brain Boosters to Enhance Memory, Energy, and Focus 4 12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health 5 12 Proven Ways To Increase Your Intellectual Wellness

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    How to Use the 5 Whys to Get to the Root Cause of Any Problem

    How to Use the 5 Whys to Get to the Root Cause of Any Problem

    Do you take long to solve career or business problems? It may be time to learn how to use the 5 Whys to make the process simpler.

    Maybe you believe that you need to know 1000 techniques to solve problems faster. The truth is that there isn’t a single technique that can solve all your problems. But despite this reality, you can still solve most of your problems in an effective way.

    How? By leveraging Sakichi Toyoda’s 5 Whys technique. Toyoda used this technique for the Toyota production system, but you can apply it to most of your problems[1]. So, stop trying to memorize dozens of techniques and get ready to work smarter!

    What Is the 5 Whys Method?

    With the 5 Whys technique, you have to ask 5 questions.

    Simple, right? Whenever you’re facing a problem, ask what may have contributed to the current results. Then, continue asking 5 times, or until you reach the root cause.

    The 5 Whys | Find the Root Cause of a Problem Fast

      How do you know that this technique works? Well, Toyota has successfully implemented this technique to improve their assembly line. Now imagine what it can do to help you solve common problems[2]!

      The 5 Whys process isn’t complex, but it’ll take time to get used to. If you’re like most, you tend to jump at finding solutions when solving problems. Instead, start by asking one question each time you’re facing a problem.

      It can be for anything minor such as being stuck in traffic. In this case, your first question would be why you didn’t avoid traffic. Ask a single question for all your problems, and continue adding more until you ask 5 by default.

      Advertising

      Eventually, you’ll know when to ask the 5 Whys and find a root cause to most of your problems. But, you don’t always have to work alone. When you work with unfamiliar topics, work with team members to brainstorm answers.

      If you want to know how to be a great team player, check out this article.

      For example, if you’re troubleshooting a bad marketing campaign for your business, work with your marketing team to find a solution. As a business owner, you’ll wear many hats but won’t be able to find a root cause to most of your problems alone.

      How to Ask the 5 Whys Efficiently

      Before you start asking the 5 Whys, you need to prepare to get the best results. Here’s the flow process for solving a real-world problem:

      1. Get the Right Resources

      You don’t know what you don’t know. So, gather information through books and online resources before solving a problem. You’ll find yourself researching more often for topics you’re not familiar with.

      If you don’t prepare, you’ll limit yourself to an ineffective root cause.

      You can also surround yourself with people who specialize in certain areas. This way you can work together with your group to find the best root cause of a problem.

      Your goal here is to feel comfortable with the questions you’re working with. Avoid answering questions you’re unsure of because you’ll most likely end up with a bad root cause.

      2. Understand the Problem

      Before you solve any problem, it’s important to know the nature of the problem you’re solving. This will help you avoid finding an irrelevant root cause.

      Advertising

      When you define the problem, you’ll also avoid confusion when working with teams. For example, when working in teams, often it’s easy to assume that everyone is working on the same problem. But this isn’t always the case and can cause teams working to solve two different problems.

      3. Ask Your First 5 Questions

      Once you’ve spent enough time preparing, ask your first question. Instead of giving quick answers, brainstorm which answers will bring the most value. Each question depends on its predecessor, so give meaningful answers.

      The rule of thumb here is to keep repeating why five times until you’ve found a potential root cause. Typically, 5 questions or less is enough to solve the most common problems, but don’t limit yourself to 5 questions if it’s genuinely necessary to ask more.

      Instead, keep asking questions until you can’t anymore.

      4. Find Your Root Cause

      The main goal for using the 5 Whys framework is to end up with a root cause for the issue you’re experiencing. You should come up with an answer that helps you understand when/why the problem occurs.

      It’s also used to address high-level issues so that you can track your progress afterward. By addressing high-level issues, you’ll solve problems quicker before addressing the root cause.

      An Example of the 5 Whys

      Learning about the 5 Whys framework is great, but having real-world examples is better. Here’s an example you can use as a template for when you’re solving real-world problems:

      Problem: Employers haven’t called me back for an interview for the past 3 months

      • Question 1: Why is my resume not getting noticed by employers?
        Because it’s too generic and not showing any special skills for the roles you’re applying to.
      • Question 2: Why is my resume too generic?
        Because I want it to appeal to many professions.
      • Question 3: Why do I want to apply to many professions?
        Because I want to increase my chances of getting hired.
      • Question4: Why would applying to several professions increase my odds at getting hired?
        Because I wouldn’t limit myself to available job openings at one specific profession.
      • Question 5: Why would I limit myself to job openings available?
        Because there is a high demand for my profession.

      In this scenario, you’d stop at question 5 because you’ve found a potential root cause.

      Advertising

      Since there’s a lot of competition for your industry, your resume needs to stand out. Who do you think an employer will hire, a jack of all trades or an expert in their profession?

      Whenever you’re working with a problem, take time to brainstorm the best questions. That’s because it’ll impact the quality of the root cause you’ll end up with.

      When Do the 5 Whys Not Work?

      As you’ve seen, the 5 Whys isn’t complicated and can be used for many kinds of problems, but it takes a lot of effort to execute correctly. When done right, it can help you find the culprit to most of your common problems. The problem is that this technique isn’t suited for every situation.

      Unreplicable Results

      You won’t be able to replicate the same results. Think about it: you’re creating your own questions and answering them in a unique way. No one else would be able to replicate your results for the most part.

      This means that even two teams working in the same environment will come up with two separate answers.

      Limited by the Knowledge Available

      As mentioned before, gather enough information when solving an unknown problem. The problem is that you won’t always have the best resources available. Because of this, you’ll limit yourself to the quality of your answers.

      If you’re ever facing an unknown topic, try a different problem-solving technique.

      Focusing on a Single Root Cause

      The main goal behind using the 5 Whys is to come up with a single root cause. But all problems don’t always have a single solution. For example, a marketing campaign can have a best, good, and worst case scenario.

      These limitations don’t make the 5 Whys a bad technique to use. Instead, they let you know how to use this technique more effectively.

      Advertising

      The 5 Whys works best for improving processes and solving simple problems, but it falls short when working with complex problems. That’s why you’ll need to know other alternatives.

      For example, a company’s low customer response rate may be due to several factors. In this case, you’d choose a technique that’s better suited to solve complex problems. Determine which problems you face the most to know which techniques will help you the most.

      The Bottom Line

      Imagine conquering issues most people give up on.

      People would look at you and assume that you know 1000 ways to solve a problem. The truth is that not much has changed since you’d struggled with solving problems.

      But you’re now using a proven system that’s made your life easier.

      You’re a problem-solving machine.

      If you don’t believe this can be your reality, you’re wrong. You have what it takes to solve your problems, but you’ll need to practice. Start by asking one question today as you face a problem.

      Then, keep doing the same until you’re asking several questions for each of your problems. You won’t master the 5 Whys analysis overnight, but, with enough practice, this technique will feel more natural.

      More Problem Solving Techniques

      Featured photo credit: Startaê Team via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Harvard Business Review: The Unimportance of Practically Everything
      [2] Harvard Business Review: The Five Whys for Start-Ups

      Read Next