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Superfoods to BOOST brain power

Last updated on: April 28, 2011 17:55 IST

51 superfoods to BOOST brain power

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Gud2Eat.com

Everyone wants a good memory but no one wants to eat right! Here are the foods that will make you brighter and sharper.

Ever found yourself struggling to remember your colleague's name, your anniversary, that office deadline or even worse your spouse's name?

Poor memory has never been of help to anyone we know -- be it a student or a CEO.

But with so many things happening around us, is it possible to remember every single date, every single detail and every possible person you came across?

Erm, it isn't!

But these 51 foods will surely help you get better at remembering and get your brain ticking without having to take those coffee breaks and reminders!

Read on!

1. Is Dark Chocolate Brain Food?

A few Dark Chocolate squares help sharpen your brain for a short time. Dark Chocolate contains Phenylethylamine that stimulates the brain to produce neurotransmitter Serotonin which helps boost your mood.

2. Natural Sugar enhances alertness

Eating complex carbs like some fruits, veggies, grains, beans enhances alertness and mental ability. Eating simple carbs or too much sugar results into impaired memory and additional pounds.

Courtesy: Gud2Eat.com


Photographs: Gud2Eat.com
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3. Why are complex carbs called smart food?

When you eat complex carbs your brain gets sugar for fuel at a steady pace this in turn will influence your learning and behaviour. Brain craves for natural sugar utilizing almost 20% of your carb intake.

4. Can nuts keep your brain healthy and young?

Nuts and seeds are rich in antioxidant Vitamin E, which helps arrest cognitive decline as you age. Note - The nutrient density doesn't change with size or if they are raw or dry roasted.



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5. Why is it important to hydrate your brain?

Your blood is 82 percent water and both your brain and muscles, are 75 percent water. Drinking plenty of water can help with mental clarity and at times prevents the release of stress hormones.

6. Do blueberries promote brain health?

Blueberries contain Anthocyanins, Vitamins A, B's, C, E, Selenium, Zinc, Potassium, Magnesium etc. which together prevent and heal neurotic disorders by preventing degeneration and death of neurons, brain-cells.



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7. Cocoa: Brain food that helps focus

Cocoa and dark chocolate contain significant amounts of antioxidant Flavanols that improve the blood flow in the brain and enhance cognitive skills.

8. Water helps lower stress

Studies state that when your body is dehydrated you will be stressed & anxious as the body has  increased your cortisol levels (stress hormones). A simple way to de-stress -- drink a glass of water.



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9. Steady sugar supply is good for memory

Low glycemic index fruits are rich in fiber that slows the absorption of fruit sugar and gives steady energy. So when the brain gets steady supply of Glucose it enhances performance and memory.

10. Berries improves memory

Berries are rich in antioxidants and help reduce the effects of age-related conditions like Alzheimer's disease or dementia and may reverse in some cases decline in the cognitive and motor function.



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11. Boost brain health with eggs

Eggs are rich in Protein and packed with Choline, which helps memory development. Eggs are rich in Tyrosine an amino acid (protein) which helps make neurotransmitters that increase mental alertness.

12. Does caffeine stimulate your brain?

Caffeine elevates neural activity in many parts of the brain, postpones fatigue, and enhances performance at simple intellectual tasks. Larger doses of caffeine may result in jitteriness and lack of sleep.



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13. Is fatty fish really brain food?

Fatty Fish is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, an essential fat for brain function and development. 2 'weekly' servings of fatty fish will give enough Omega 3 fats to help enhance memory - particularly important when we age.

14. Does ice cream boost your mood?

Ice cream are simple carbohydrates and will definitley improve your mood but the effect will only last 1 to 2 hours. Desserts cause blood sugar to spike and plummet, leading to fatigue and moodiness.



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15. Nuts are positive mood enhancers

For brainpower and to balance your moods eat Walnuts, Cashews, Almonds, Peanuts and Hazelnuts. Nuts can help clear up brain fog and enable you to think clearer and are positive mood enhancers.

16. Whole grains helps elevate your mood

Whole grains are rich in Vitamin B1 or Thiamine that serves an important role in maintaining a healthy nervous system and metabolizing carbohydrates. Vitamin B1 or Thiamine intake also elevates mood.



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17. Honey: Brain food that helps enhance alertness

The glucose in honey is quickly absorbed and gives energy and boosts performance, while the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy & together they help reduce muscle fatigue.

18. Tea: Brain food that helps in being alert

Tea contains both caffeine and the amino acid L-Theanine which can improve alertness, reaction time, and memory. Tea also helps fight effects of stress.



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19. Does Vitamin D brightens your mood?

Sunshine Vitamin or Vitamin D can help brighten your mood. Optimize your Vitamin D levels with 10-20 minutes of soft sunlight couple of times a week.

20. Flax seeds are good for your brain

Omega 3 fats help repair brain cells that are needed for mood elevation. The brain is more than 60% fat, and it functions far better when it is fortified with healthy, fluid essential fatty acids like Omega 3 fatty acids.



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21. Complex carbs: Brain's favorite fuel

Complex Carbs help boosting energy and your mood. Carbs are body's preferred energy source and help raise serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that improves your mood.

22. Fatty fish enhances brain function

People eating rich diet of omega 3 fatty acids lower their risk for dementia or stroke. 2 'weekly' servings of fatty fish will give enough Omega 3 fats to help enhance memory - particularly important when we age.



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23. Peaches are feel good fruits

Peaches contain antioxidants Vitamin C and Beta-carotene, which help fight free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidative stress and speed up premature aging & affect many brain functions.

24. Milk chocolate can improve your verbal memory

Milk chocolate helps improves impulse control and reaction time and helps improve visual and verbal memory. A piece of Milk chocolate also releases of endorphins that are mood-elevating hormones.



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25. Why do most people binge on nuts?

Nuts contain Pyrazine a mood-altering chemical that reaches your brain through your olfactory senses or your nose. Pyrazine stimulates the production of many feel-good chemicals.

26. Peanuts helps boost mental alertness

Fruits and Nuts that contain trace mineral Boron are considered Brain Food as Boron stimulates the brain and boosts mental alertness. Boron is also found in Legumes, Broccoli, Apples, Peaches and Grapes...



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27. Snacks that help boost your mood

If you are feeling depressed snacks on Bananas or Walnuts - they help increase Serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates mood and helps fight depression.

28. Foods can help fight depression

Eat foods that contain the amino acid Tryptophan as it helps produce brain chemical Serotonin that elevates your mood. Foods rich in Tryptophan include milk, poultry, and nuts.



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29. Caffeine: Brain food that helps you concentrate

Caffeine can energize plus help you focus and concentrate but its effect lasts only for a short while. More than 4 cups or 500 mg of Caffeine per day may cause jitters and grogginess.

30. Salmon: Brain food that boosts your mood

Omega 3 fats help create the receptor sites for neurotransmitters like Serotonin. If there are more Omega 3 fats in your blood you are likely to make more Serotonin the brain chemical vital to boost your mood.



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31. Cashews: Mood boosting & energising foods

Cashews, Almonds, and Hazelnuts contain Magnesium, which plays a vital role in converting sugar into energy. Sugar released helps boost your mood. Magnesium deficiency can drain you of energy.

32. Oatmeal is mood boosting & energising

Complex carbs and soluble fiber in Oatmeal helps stabilize your blood-glucose levels and deliver sustained energy. Add more brain nutrients to Oatmeal by adding strawberries.



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33. Oatmeal reduces risk of cognitive decline

Oatmeal contains ferulic acid a potent antioxidant that protects brain cells by neutralizing toxins and helps reduce risk of cognitive decline of aging. Add more brain nutrients to Oatmeal by adding sliced almonds.

34. Beans: Mood boosting & energising

Beans are high in Fiber which is an energy stabilizer. Fiber ensures a more steady supply of energy throughout the day. Other foods that contain soluber fiber are Peas, Citrus fruits, Strawberries and Apples.



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35. Lean meats help you stay alert

Lean Beef, Chicken, and Turkey are rich in Protein and contain the amino acid Tyrosine. Tyrosine boosts levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, brain chemicals that help you feel more alert and focused.

36. Leafy greens are mood boosting & energising

Folates or Vitamin B9 in leafy green vegetables, including Spinach and Romaine lettuce helps fight depression. Other good Folate food sources include Legumes, Nuts, and Citrus Fruits.



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37. Poultry elevates your mood

Poultry bis rich inTyrosine that helps elevate levels of feel good neurotransmitters, Norepinephrine and Dopamine. Tyrosine can help boost your level of energy, and also helps neutralize effects of stress.

38. Walnuts can help lift your mood

Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, that are needed for mood-lifting neurotransmitters to function properly thus help fight depression. Salmon and Flaxseeds are also good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids.



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39. Whole grain bread may help fight depression

Whole grain bread contains Tryptophan an essential amino acid that helps make Serotonin a neurotransmitter, and optimum levels of Serotonin are required to be in a good mood.

40. Milk is considered as a feel good food

Milk contains high amount of Calcium that helps reduce your stress levels and anxiety. Milk contains amino acid Tryptophan that helps your body produce Brain Chemical Serotonin, which elevates your mood.



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41. Why does your brain need spinach?

Folates or Vitamin B9 in Spinach helps fight depression. Magnesium in Spinach plays a vital role in converting sugar into energy and Magnesium deficiency can drain you of energy.

42. Does hot chocolate help you focus?

Caffeine in hot chocolate stimulates your metabolism and temporarily improves mental focus and energy. Too much of caffeine kills sleep leading to fatique and stress.



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43. Fluid filled fruits help energize your brain

Fresh Fruits and vegetables that have a high water content help you stay hydrated and energized. Fruits and vegetables contain natural sugar that is brains preferred energy source and water that helps release stress.
 
44. Brazil Nuts are natural mood boosters

Brazil Nuts are rich in mineral Selenium are natural mood boosters and acts as an anti-depressant.



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45. Freshly brewed coffee smells heavenly

Freshly grounded coffee contains Pyrazine a mood-altering chemical that reaches your brain through your olfactory senses. Pyrazine triggers the pleasure center of the brain producing many  feel-good chemicals.

46. Which foods help fight depression?

Complex carbohydrates found in Beans, Potatoes, and Whole Grains increase bioavailability of Tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan helps produce brain chemical Serotonin that elevates your mood.



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47. Lean beef helps tackle depression

Lean beef is rich in Vitamin B12 that enables the nervous system and the brain to function properly. A daily dose of Vitamin B12 may prevent depression as it needed for the production of Serotonin.

48. Purple grape juice helps your memory

Purple grape juice contains natural antioxidants called Flavanols that improve blood flow in the brain and enhance cognitive skills, help maintain your memory and improve your general disposition.



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49. How does Yogurt help boost your mood?

Consuming Calcium rich foods like Yogurt helps alleviate depression and anxiety. A cup of Yogurt contains about 488 mg of Calcium that helps boost your mood.

50. Why Shellfish is considered a mood booster?

Seafood and shellfish are mood boosters as they contain a good amount of Selenium. Selenium boosts your mood by reducing anxiety. Selenium neutralizes the effects of harmful hormonal levels created by stress.



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51. Do bananas elevate your mood in a jiffy?

Mood problems are usually related to stress or missing nutrients in your diet. A single banana actually packs a good energy boost and is high in Magnesium that boosts your mood.



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