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10 Brain Boosting Foods You Should Be Eating

10 Brain Boosting Foods You Should Be Eating

“Food for thought” usually refers to ideas or interesting tidbits of information that your mind can metaphorically “feed” on. However, this phrase has literal value as well. There are certain foods that boost your brainpower and enhance cognitive function. Here are 10 brain-boosting foods you should be eating:

1. Blueberries

Referred to as “brainberries” by Dr. Steven Pratt, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, blueberries are perhaps one of the most beneficial brain foods. Rich in antioxidants, they protect your brain from damaging oxidative stress caused by accumulated free radicals in the body. In the industrial world that we live in, the amounts of these harmful species are increasing in our bodies to levels that actually harm cells and neurons, damage which is prevented by antioxidants. Blueberries enhance memory and improve learning abilities. Studies suggest they may even reduce age-related decline and prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. A cup a day in any form will do the trick.

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2. Avocados

The monounsaturated fats in avocados promote blood flow and reduce blood pressure, which benefits all organs, including the brain. High in calories, a quarter to a half an avocado a day is sufficient.

3. Wild salmon

Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which maintain brain cell health and act as anti-inflammatories. Our bodies are unable to manufacture the amounts of fatty acids that we need, so an external source is required. The fatty acids in salmon support heart, brain and eye health throughout life, and fight age-related cognitive disorders. Farmed salmon doesn’t contain the same levels of fatty acids as ocean fish, so if given the choice, wild salmon is better. A four ounce serving two to three times a week is recommended.

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4. Olive oil

Olive oil is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as antioxidants, which, as discussed above, protects the brain against oxidative stress. It has also been linked to improved learning and memory. One to two tablespoons a day sprinkled on salads or use for cooking is a good amount.

5. Flax seeds

Flax seeds are rich in fatty-acids, which are essential to brain health, enhancing memory and reducing age-related decline. A tablespoon or two a day will do it, added in smoothies or in a salad.

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6. Broccoli

Broccoli is an excellent source of choline, which has been known to improve memory and decrease age-related mental decline. It is also rich in vitamin K, which can increase the speed of brain functions and improve memory abilities. Broccoli can prevent against the harmful oxidative distress discussed above. Two cups about four to five times a week is optimum for brain health.

7. Eggs

Egg yolks are one of the best sources of choline, which, as discussed before, can improve memory and reduce age-related decline. It can also improve communication between brain cells. An egg a day is the recommended amount.

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8. Nuts

Containing high levels of healthy fats, nuts can increase mental clarity, memory and have been shown to reverse brain aging in older rats. They contain high levels of vitamin E, which prevents cognitive decline. Considering their brain-like shape, it’s suitable that walnuts are perhaps the best nut to eat for brain health. They can enhance mood, reduce mental decline and improve cardiac health. An ounce of nuts a day is enough to do the trick.

9. Chickpeas

Rich in magnesium, chickpeas promote faster transmission of messages between neurons. They relax the blood vessels, which promotes blood flow, and increase serotonin levels in the brain, which leads to a better mood. Start eating hummus more often and perhaps try a chickpea salad a few times a week.

10. Dark chocolate

Perhaps the tastiest of the brain boosting foods, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and protects the brain against oxidative stress from free radicals. It contains endorphins which can improve mood. An ounce a day is the recommended amount.

Featured photo credit: Jeff Kubina via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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