On this blog I mainly focus on fat loss nutrition but today I wanted to switch gears and talk about how you can use your diet to improve your health specifically your brain function. There are lots of supplements on the market that promise improved focus, energy, and brain output but these are all short term fixes that are chalk full of stimulants and B Vitamins (to be completely honest – mega dosing regular B vitamins is NOT going to help your brain). Today I’m not going to talk about the short term fix (even thought I do have what I call the ‘Mind Mastery Stack’ which is what I use on days that I have long and important test/exams). Instead, let’s look at three things that I do everyday to improve the function of my brain over the long term so hopefully as time goes on I can hold onto my ‘marbles’ and delay losing them 🙂
1. Eat blueberries – This probably comes to no surprise as the brain boosting benefits of blueberries essentially started the super food revolution. The antioxidants in these dark brain boosting nuggets have been shown time and time again to improve cognition and memory. Despite the well publicized and documented benefits of blueberries I still find that most people aren’t eating them on a regular basis (are you?) – I’m talking about eating them everyday. You don’t need to eat organic or fresh ones either. Frozen blueberries are convenient, more cost effective, and just as nutritious. Start making a habit of eating 1 cup of blueberries everyday.
2. Fish Oil – If you read my blog on a daily basis you know that I LOVE fish oil. I don’t love the fishy taste – that’s not what I mean. I do love the drug like effects that they have. Research aside I have seen first hand with family and clients noticeable improvements in the memory of people taking 2-3g of EPA/DHA each day in as little as one month. That is truly amazing. There is also a fascinating body of research that is starting to build showing the beneficial effects of high dose fish oil in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Plus if you are pregnant and take fish oil you can boost your child’s I.Q. by a couple points as well (I know a couple points isn’t going to make your son/daughter the next Steve Jobs but every little bit helps right?)
3. Low Impact Carbs – Wanna know America’s #1 killer? Uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Seriously. Excess blood glucose is ‘toxic’ to your body. Controlling your blood sugar will also help you manage inflammation (inflammation is now being implicated as one of the major driving forces behind the aging process). Elevated blood sugar levels lead to increase glycation (basically this is when glucose molecules stick to things that they shouldn’t, like proteins or amino acids). This can lead to the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). AGEs have been not only implicated in the aging process but cancer, neurodegeneration (bad for brain function) and heart disease. Bad news huh? How can we avoid this? Controlling your blood sugar is as simple as controlling your carbs. To do this, I recommend that you focus on eating low impact carbs – broccoli, chick peas, spinach, peppers, black beans. When you prevent the blood sugar roller coaster from happening in you body each day you will provide your body and brain with a constant flow of energy throughout the day. This will fight the formation of AGEs and slow the inevitable neurodegeneration.
We all want to be smarter, think more clearly, and remember more stuff right? The three simple nutrition strategies that I have outlined above will directly impact on how your brain functions. As I mentioned in the beginning these are not quick fix blast your body with stimulant strategies. Eating blueberries, taking fish oil, and eating low impact carbs will help you improve your brain function over time (and hopefully slow the aging process as well). This is easy stuff to do – make it happen.