So how are your plans going for what you want to achieve in 2010?
Do you have a game plan written down, ready to start Jan 1st or whichever day you’ve selected as your starting point?
Ok. So, let’s have a think about what steps you can take to achieve your goals and objectives and in particular what steps can you take to ensure your thinking is smart and your brain is working at it’s optimum
Brain Super Foods
There are a number of super brain foods, which if included in our diet on a regular basis may assist us with better learning, clearer thinking and optimising brain health. What’s more these super brain foods are all readily available, we just have to include them in the weekly shopping and enjoy!
So which are the brain super foods?
Fish. Preferably cold water varieties such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. Fish contains lots of Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential components for all cell membranes and of particular benefit for our brains and heart and joints. Omega 3’s are good for our memory, our learning ability and may reduce our risk of dementia. Aim to include fish in three meals a week? Sounds a lot? Well how about including tinned salmon, tuna or sardines in a roll or sandwich for lunch? Or sushi. It’s quick, easy and delicious. Fresh fish once a week as a main meal could be grilled, baked or pan fried.
Blueberries. One of the yummiest brain super foods along with other dark purple and red skinned fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, blackberries, tomatoes and red cabbage. Blueberries are bursting full of powerful antioxidants which help our learning, our motor skills and may protect us from age related cognitive decline. Dr Stephen Pratt calls them “Brainberries” . Blueberries are available fresh in season and frozen. Try them on your cereal. Add them to fruit salad or smoothies. Delicious.
Nuts and Seeds. These are full of vitamins and minerals which are great for brain health. Walnuts, pecans, macadamias, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, have I missed any? Sunflower seeds, flax seed sesame seed, pumpkin seed. The message is there are a huge variety of nuts and seeds to enjoy and they contain various goodies whether it be Vitamin E, B6, Omega 3 (remember that’s found in fish too) Omega 6, magnesium, and zinc. Choose your favourites and include a small handful everyday as a snack.
Green vegetables. OK, you knew they were going to be included. Your Mum and your Grandmother were right. Your veggies are good for you. They contain lots of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C. Beta carotene (that’s what gives carrots their lovely orange colour) and Vit C are antioxidants associated with memory. Gotta have those greens. And a special mention has to go to Broccoli. George Bush may not enjoy it, but Broccoli is a super brain food chokka full of nutrients and Vitamin K, great for thinking.
Whole grains and beans. Whole grains contain folate, vitamin B6 and thiamine. Folic acid is really important to our nervous system. All pregnant women are now encouraged to take a folic acid supplement because it is essential for normal neural development of babies. The risk of a baby being born with Spina Bifida is greatly reduced by taking extra folate supplementation. Beans such as lentils, and black eyed peas (no, not the pop group) are fabulous sources of folate as well as being good sources of protein, which leads me to….
Protein. Protein provides us with amino acids and tyrosine which are need to produce dopamine and noradrenaline which help keep us alert. These are the substances that allow our brain cells to communicate with each other. Chicken and lean red meats are good sources of protein. As are eggs which also contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These are antioxidants which help protect our eyes from developing cataract as we get older and macular degeneration, which is a significant cause of visual loss as we get older. Moreover eggs contain choline a nutrient which studies have shown to be good for memory and for maintaining our brain cells to enable them to work better. So how do like your eggs? Poached, scrambled or boiled?
Chocolate. The dark stuff. In my previous blog I talked about the benefits of eating a small quantity of good dark chocolate to enhance your thinking, memory and mood. Unfortunately more is not better. So, enjoy in moderation.
So, looking at the above, hopefully you will recognise that you are already feeding your brain with lots of the super foods mentioned above. It's easy to add some to your weekly shopping so they become a regular feature in all your meals. By including them regualrly you will be feeding your mind and your brain with the best fuel possible to keep your mind sharp and your thinking fantastic.
Remember, for our brains to function really well, we need to feed ourselves a wide variety of super brain foods every day to enable us to keep our brains working really well, especially as we get older.
Next week, Step two will look at how your attitude and beliefs affect your brain performance.