Eating the right diet and exercise can boost your brain power and help you think. The brain is a hungry organ. It needs 2 times more energy than the rest of the body. This energy must be kept at a high level for the brain to work efficiently throughout the day.

Here are 10 ways you can boost your brainpower:

1) Brain Friendly Carbohydrates

The brain cells accept glucose as the only food source for energy and they cannot store glucose but rely on the blood to deliver a constant supply. Complex carbohydrates are digested slowly in the stomach and provide a steady glucose supply to the brain cells, allowing the brain to work at a steady pace.

Brain friendly complex carbohydrates are low in Glycemic Index (GI). Examples are fruits, cereal, grains, vegetables, and legumes.

2) Avoid Sugar

“Junk-sugar” such as candy, icing, syrups, sugary drinks containing glucose, dextrose and sucrose enter the blood quickly spiking the blood sugar level. This triggers the pancreas to release a large amount of insulin to control the blood sugar level. As a result, the blood sugar plunge into a low-level limiting the supply to the brain cells. The brain then lose focus due to the lack of energy source.

3) Eat Small Meals

As the brain cells uses up to 2 times more energy than the rest of the body, eating small meals throughout the day ensures a constant supply of food source going to the brain.  If the high energy is disrupted, it will cause stress and exhaustion in the brain.

4) Protein

Protein is digested into amino acids, which are important for the manufacturing of neurotransmitters (signaling chemicals) in the brain.

5) Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of  DHA is an important component in the brain cells membrane that helps to transport nutrients in and out of the brain cells.  Studies conducted by Dr Alex Richardson from Mansfield College, where students are fed with DHA supplement were found to improve in academic performance. For more benefits of Omega-3 read my earlier post.

6) Vitamins and Antioxidants

Vitamins that are important for the brain functions are Vitamin C , Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6. Deficiency in these vitamins will cause you to be very irritable and decrease in brain efficiency.

Colorful fruits and vegetables contain loads of antioxidants that act as quenchers of free radicals (molecules responsible for aging). Many studies have shown that high dose of antioxidants improve brain powder and thinking in elderly.

Therefore, a at least 5 portions of wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables from a wide source will give you the vitamins and antioxidants you need.

7) Minerals

Important minerals to consider are calcium, iron and magnesium. These minerals have shown to improve mental alertness, memory and learning. Eating sufficient fruits and vegetables will also assure that you have the essential minerals that boost the brainpower

Whether your brain is alert or sleepy after a meal depends on the protein and carbohydrate ratio in the meal you take:

A high protein and low carbohydrate meal will jumpstart the brain due to higher amount of the amino acid tyrosine, which is important for the production of dopamine and epinephrine. Dopamine and epinephrine are hormone and neurotransmitter that make the brain alert and ready to fight. So, you may want to eat more seafood, soy, legume, meat, eggs and dairy for lunch to prevent the sleepiness in the afternoon.

A high carbohydrate and low protein meal relax the brain due to high amount of amino acid tryptophan, which helps in the production of serotonin. Serotonin relaxes the brain and makes you feel sleepy. You may want to eat more rice, potato, and vegetables for dinner to help you sleep in the night.

Have you been taking these brain foods in your diet? Let me know how they have help boost your brain power. Post it in the comment box below.

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