The benefits of good nutrition for general health are well known but did you know that what you eat affects how your brain functions?
Here’s some food for thought…
There are several nutrients in our food that help our brain to function well. Likewise, there are certain foods that prevent our brain from working well. The following outlines which foods to include and which foods to avoid in order for your brain to function at its best.
Antioxidants are compounds that protect our brain from oxidation. Oxidation is a process that causes damage to tissues within our body, including our brain. Antioxidants are mainly found mainly in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Some foods high in antioxidants include: artichokes, asparagus, avocado, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, oranges, pecans, plums, potatoes, red cabbage, raspberries, spinach, strawberries, and walnuts.
Your brain works best when you eat “complex” carbohydrates rather than “simple” carbohydrates. “Complex” carbohydrates are digested more slowly and provide a steady source of energy to your brain. “Simple” carbohydrates provide a burst of energy to your brain for a very short period of time. This leaves your brain feeling very tired after this burst and without energy for a longer period of time. “Complex” carbohydrates include whole grain breads, whole grain pastas, oatmeal, brown rice, beans, legumes and lentils. “Simple” carbohydrates include candy, soda, sugar, honey and syrups.
Caffeine is a brain stimulant. In small doses, it is safe for most people to consume. Too much caffeine can disrupt your sleeping patterns. Health Canada recommends no more than 400mg per day. If you are having sleeping difficulties, it is recommended that caffeine intake is limited to 200mg per day. Caffeine is found in the following foods: coffee (100mg/cup), tea (50mg/cup), chocolate, colas (35-50mg/cup), some energy drinks (100-4000mg/cup).
Omega 3 Fats
Omega 3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties and protect your brain as well as other organs within your body. You can find omega-3 fats in the following foods: fish, fish oils, ground flaxseed, walnuts and omega-3 eggs.
For more information about healthy eating, visit the following websites:
The Nutrition & Fitness Professionals