Eat Your Way To A Smarter Brain
Brain food matters. How you think and feel can be directly affected by what you eat.
By simply following a brain-friendly diet, you might sharpen your memory, increase your attention span and improve your mood...
Did you know that the brain is nearly 60% fat? Healthy fats line each cell membrane helping to maintain their structure. Essential fats are also crucial for the brain’s integrity and ability to perform.
As these healthy fats cannot be manufactured within the body, they must be obtained from the diet…
Keep your brain well nourished with salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, flax and chia seeds.
Blood sugar dips can cause concentration to go straight out the window. This is because our brains run on sugar to function; in fact, the brain uses as much as 20% of the energy needed by the body. All carbohydrates break down to sugar, but only the fibre-rich slow release carbohydrates provide sustained fuel to the brain.
Choose wholegrain bread, pasta, rice, oats, potato, quinoa, buckwheat, rye, and barley.
Exciting new research suggests that polyphenols found in mixed berries may help to improve cognitive performance, accuracy and reaction speeds for up to 6 hours post consumption.
This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial gave promising results to indicate that adding these delicious fruits to our diet could be a perfect way to keep us at the top of our game. 1
Try adding berries to natural yoghurt, porridge and even smoothies.
It may be tempting to rely on caffeine for brain power during exam season, however, overconsumption may lead to anxiety, irritability, and even insomnia. Caffeine withdrawal may also result in headaches and low mood, which can wreak havoc with concentration.
Green tea, on the other hand, contains a much lower caffeine content and is rich in a compound called l-theanine. This has been studied for its potential ability to provide feelings of relaxed alertness and clarity, without the jitters, that keep us up all night. 2
It may sound like old news, but a large proportion of the brain consists of water and dehydration can negatively affect concentration, short-term memory and even mood.
If you’re not a fan of plain water try making some flavoured water by infusing with berries, mint, cucumber and even lemon. 3
Lily Soutter BSc (hons) Human Nutrition, Dip ION
- Whyte, R., Cheng, N., Lamport, D., Butler, L, & Williams,C.M. (2017) Polyphenol rich mixed berries maintain cognitive function over a 6 hour period. School of Pscyhology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, United Kingdon
- Park, S. K., Jung, I. C., Lee, W. K., Lee, Y. S., Park, H. K., Go, H. J., Kim, K., Lim, N. K., Hong, J. T., Ly, S. Y. & Rho, S. S. (2011). A combination of green tea extract and l-theanine improves memory and attention in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Med Food,14(4), 334-43.
- Gopinathan, P. M., Pichan, G. & Sharma, V. M. (1988). Role of dehydration in heat stress-induced variations in mental performance. Arch Environ Health,43(1), 15-7.