Maintain a healthy brain and boost concentration with these 'smart' foods...
With all the buzz surrounding certain foods and dietary supplements, it can be easy to think that they'll do anything from enhance memory to improve brain function. But is any of it true?
There's no getting away from the fact that our mind ages alongside our body; the good news is that while you may not be able to enhance your memory once it's lost - with the right diet and the right brain foods, you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain (and you can even improve concentration while you're at it).
Caffeine helps you stay alert
No food or drink will boost your IQ or make you magically smarter, but certain substances (like caffeine) can energise you and help you focus. Ideal sources of caffeine include good quality coffee and dark chocolate. Just be sure not to overdo it - too much will make you feel jittery and uncomfortable.
Breakfast fuels your brain
As tempting as it may be to skip breakfast in favour of more sleep or extra time to read over those meeting notes - eating a balanced breakfast can help to improve short-term memory and attention span. High-fibre whole grains, dairy and fruit are perfect fuels.
Boost brain function with fish
Fish is a renowned brain food as it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that are essential for brain function and development. These fatty acids are linked to lower dementia and stroke risk as well as slower mental decline.
Have a daily dose of nuts and/or dark chocolate
Nuts and seeds are both brilliant sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is linked to slower cognitive decline as you grow older. Dark chocolate is another source of antioxidants and has the added benefit of caffeine, which can help you stay alert.
Blueberries really are a superfood
Research conducted on animals has shown that blueberries may help to reduce the effect of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Studies show that a diet rich in blueberries improves both the learning and muscle function of aging rats - making them mentally equivalent to younger rats.
Fuel up with this brain-boosting breakfast:
If you want to see what other issues can be tackled through diet, please see our Nutrition Topics page.
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- 100% fruit juice
- whole grain bagel with salmon
- cup of coffee.
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