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A sedentary lifestyle has given way to numerous chronic and serious illnesses. With more and more people turning to unhealthy junk food in order to keep up with their sedentary lifestyle, the research on how diet affects a person’s body and the brain has increased extensively. Researchers are constantly on the lookout for foods and dietary supplements that will make a person healthy- physically and mentally.
Talking about mental health, have you ever heard of something known as ‘brain food?’ If you haven’t come across the word, let me explain it to you; ‘Brain foods are basically foods that, if included in your daily diet, will aid in increasing your attention span, memory and overall functioning of the brain.'
Anyone and everyone can derive the benefits of brain foods as they can be easily found in the kitchen. One just needs to be more alert about what he’s adding to his plate and the portion size.
Listed below are some brain foods are that you can include your daily meals and boost the abilities of your brain:
Green tea: Green tea is the new ‘fitness mantra’ for a reason. Green tea not only benefits the body but sharpens the mind as well. The credit goes to two key ingredients- caffeine and L-Theanine. Caffeine is known to make a person more alert and increase attention levels. L-Theanine is the perfect complementary ingredient to caffeine as it increases ‘alpha-wave’ activity in the brain which in turn increases tranquility and doesn’t allow the caffeine to hit the person all at once, but in small chunks which allows him to remain alert and focus for a comparatively longer duration.
Avocados: To be honest, avocados are a blessing in disguise. They are rich in Vitamin K and folate which help prevent blood clots in the brain which protect against stroke and improve concentration and memory. In addition to that, they are also rich in Vitamin B and Vitamin C which are essential for healthy brain functioning.
Fish: Omega- 3 fatty acids are imperative for brain health and fish has plenty of it. A diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a reduced risk of stroke and dementia. It is a known fact that as we age, our body and brain ages with us. Adding at least 2 servings of fish in your diet every week reduces the rate of mental decline and helps improve concentration, memory and attention span.
Green vegetables: Green vegetables are the best thing you can possibly add to your plate. Martha Clare Morris of Rush University Medical Center along with her colleagues conducted a study on the eating habits and mental ability of more than 950 older adults for an average of five years. The results showed that people who consumed green leafy vegetables had a slower rate of mental deterioration and reduced risk of dementia.
Water: This one is a no-brainer! Water provides the brain with the energy to perform all of its cognitive and non-cognitive processes. Water has also been proven to help a person a person think faster, be more focused, increase creativity levels and increase the overall functioning of the brain. Hydrating yourself after a long day will instantly give your mind the energy and refreshment it needs.
Dark chocolate: You can save this one for the desserts! Dark chocolate contains flavonoids- a group of antioxidant plant compounds which accumulate in the areas of the brain that deal with memory and learning. The caffeine content in dark chocolate makes a person more alert and energized. According to The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study by Crichton GE, Elias MF and Alkerwi A conducted on over 900 people, participants who consumed dark chocolate frequently performed better in a series of mental and memory tasks in comparison to people who rarely ate chocolate.
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