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Choosing what to eat every day can make the difference between feeling energized and feeling lazy. Different food options exist in this world, where fast-food chains and ready-to-eat meals come at affordable prices. That’s why you’ll find several Americans who scarf down burgers or slurp cup noodles when it’s their lunch break. Fast and convenient food for 5$ or less? It seems like the perfect deal.
Sadly, what many adults may overlook is how food works. When you take a bite out of your favorite candy bar or cheat meal, you’re also absorbing several chemicals and additives. Things like sodium, saturated fats, and MSG go inside and must be digested alongside your body. In moderation, these chemicals would be fine. However, if you check the nutritional facts of your favorite foods, you’ll find that one serving could cost 90% of your recommended intake. Imagine how dangerous it is to take five times the daily amount of salt in just one sitting?
First, let’s explain how the right food can increase brain performance. Whether you love meat, veggies, exotic foods, or all three, they all get digested and broken down. That’s why nutritional facts on store items are so important. They list every ingredient and corresponding chemicals that get absorbed into your body. Sodium, saturated fats, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients are then converted into fuel for your organs and bloodstream.
This is especially true for the brain, which uses the foods absorbed to release chemicals and hormones. Mood-boosting chemicals, such as dopamine and oxytocin, have been linked to reduced depression and anxiety levels. Other nutrients found in food also lead to increased production of compounds like zinc, flavonoids, and acetylcholine. Studies on these compounds have that their intake leads to higher memory retention and concentration.
In summary, the food you eat acts as fuel to increase your brain performance. While all types of food give you energy, choosing the right ones can determine how fast and well your brain functions. Finding the right ones that fit your budget and your daily intake can be tricky. To help you, here are eight different brain foods to try and how you can enjoy them during meals.
Avocados are great sources of lutein, a carotenoid found in your brain and eyes. Studies have shown that those who regularly eat avocados develop higher levels of lutein, which is linked to better mental accuracy and performance.
What’s great about avocados is that they can be made for several dishes. Those who enjoy desserts can relax with slices of avocado drenched in condensed milk. Fans of toast can spread avocado on top and mix it with salt, pepper, and eggs. You can also mash avocados as part of guacamole if you’re in the mood for chips or tortillas.
What makes these fishes popular is that they carry large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Specifically, they are rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which make up half the fat content found in all brains. These acids are also used for constructing new brain and nerve cells. Conversely, those with lower intakes of omega-3s show higher susceptibility to depression and other mental illnesses.
Some people consume sardines straight from the can, while others like to mix them in salads or omelets. They are also popular toppings for pizzas and whole-wheat toast. Just remember to check the sodium percentage in each can, as manufacturers commonly add large amounts of salt to preserve the fish.
While chocolate can be harmful, especially in excess, dark chocolates are one of the healthiest options on the market. It’s considered a food that increases brain performance due to its large amounts of flavonoids, which provide antioxidants. By occasionally eating dark chocolate, you increase your sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that helps transfer energy from your blood to the cells. This means that you become more energized and your blood flow may increase.
The tried-and-tested method of taking a bite of the dark chocolate bar always works. You could also heat up dark chocolate with some milk to make yourself a delicious drink. Those who enjoy baking can also cut up and melt dark chocolate to act as healthy toppings for cakes, brownies, muffins, and other delicious pastries.
Though they differ in name and texture, nuts generally carry large amounts of brain-boosting nutrients, such as vitamin E and zinc. Studies on children who regularly consume nuts, whether for meals or as study snacks, show that they develop improved reaction times and interpretation of verbal information. In addition, nuts are full of monounsaturated fats, which can improve blood cholesterol and heart circulation.
Aside from being food that increases brain performance, nuts are the perfect topping for all kinds of foods! You can mix them in various dishes, like salads and smoothies. You could also mix them with chocolates, like M&Ms, to create your own trail mix.
Eggs are a natural source of multivitamins because they are rich in several nutrients. For example, eggs provide vitamin B12, which can prevent the loss of neurons and therefore improve memory retention. They also carry selenium, which is linked to cognitive function and coordination.
Eggs are both food that increases brain performance and versatile additions to any meal. How you eat your eggs can vary, be it fried or scrambled. However, keep in mind that eating the entire thing is recommended. Separating the egg whites from the yolk may provide specific benefits, depending on which one you eat, but you could also miss out on some valuable vitamins. If you want an easy and filling snack, hard-boiled eggs are the way to go.
Coffee is a popular resource in the working world. Many offices and businesses feel that they cannot function without their daily cup of joe. It’s also one of the most common foods that increase brain performance because, much like chocolate, coffee carries antioxidants. When drank in moderation, those who drink coffee show higher levels of attention and alertness. Personally, I do not use coffee and I don’t advocate for it.
However, if it helps you as food that increases brain performance effective, give it a shot. Just remember to control how many cups you consume per day.
Many coffee shops and restaurants like to mix their drinks into cappuccinos or macchiatos, which are safe if consumed on occasion. However, the amount of sugar and milk added could lead to weight gain and leave you craving for more. For sweet tooths, it’s recommended to stick to black coffee. You’ll feel an immediate energy boost without the urge to buy a second cup.
Broccoli is a favorite amongst multiple dieticians and health gurus alike, thanks to its immunity-boosting properties and high protein content. However, what you probably don’t know is that it offers a ton of vitamin K. This vitamin is used to form the fats packed into brain cells, making it ideal as a treat that increases brain performance. Furthermore, studies on broccoli show that it carries antioxidants.
Some people like to consume raw broccoli, which allows the most nutrients to be absorbed. Others might want to have them cooked. If you belong to the latter, remember that how you cook it can drain the remaining nutrients available. For the healthiest results, consider stir-frying or steaming your broccoli before eating it.
With a relatively recent rise in popularity, turmeric is famous as being the key ingredient of curry powder. It’s recognizable for its powerful kick and deep yellow shade. However, turmeric offers more than just a spicy taste. It has an active ingredient called curcumin, which allows new brain cells to grow. This may be why it is recommended for those with Alzheimer’s, as those with higher amounts of curcumin show higher memory retention. Turmeric also boosts serotonin and dopamine, reducing depression and anxiety levels.
Not only is turmeric a food that increases brain performance, it’s also a tasty form of seasoning. You’ll find turmeric in most, if not all, curry recipes around the world. Its distinctive yellow color can be seen in the soup and the broth that gives the food its flavor. Aspiring cooks may also use turmeric as a seasoning for common dishes like scrambled eggs and chicken. There is also a growing interest in turmeric tea, although be ready for the spicy kick it gives.
Consuming the right types of food does more than improving your health. It can also boost your brain to perform better at work. Different food options, such as broccoli and sardines, can improve memory retention, cognitive processing, and coordination. By eating food that increases brain performance, you can enhance your performance at work. In addition, you’ll give your body healthier and more nutritious meals to cleanse and improve your wellbeing.
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