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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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Leanne Louie

Leanne is a passionate writer who shares lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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