Friday, November 18, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Ginseng, Fish, Berries, or Caffeine?
Listen to the buzz about foods and dietary supplements and you'll believe they can do everything from sharpen focus and concentration, to enhance memory, attention span, and brain function.
But do they really work? There's no denying that as we age chronologically, our body ages right along with us. The good news is that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain -- if you add "smart" foods and beverages to your diet.

Caffeine Can Make You More Alert
There's no magic bullet to boost IQ or make you smarter -- but certain substances, like caffeine, can energize and help you focus and concentrate. Found in coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, and some medications, caffeine gives you that unmistakable wake-up buzz -- though the effects are short term. And more is often less: Overdo it on caffeine and it can make you jittery and uncomfortable.
Sugar Can Enhance Alertness
Sugar is your brain's preferred fuel source -- not table sugar, but glucose, which your body metabolizes from the sugars and carbohydrates you eat. That's why a glass of something sweet to drink can offer a short-term boost to memory, thinking processes, and mental ability.
Consume too much, however, and memory can be impaired -- along with the rest of you. Go easy on the sugar so it can enhance memory, without packing on the pounds.

Eat Breakfast to Fuel Your Brain
Tempted to skip breakfast? Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Students who eat breakfast tend to perform significantly better than those who don’t. Foods at the top of researchers' brain fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, dairy, and fruits. Just don't overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.

Fish Really is Brain Food
A protein source associated with a great brain boost is fish -- rich in omega 3 fatty acids, essential for brain function and development. These healthy fats have amazing brain power: higher dietary omega 3 fatty acids are linked to lower dementia and stroke risks; slower mental decline; and may play a vital role in enhancing memory, especially as we get older.
For brain and heart health, eat two servings of fish weekly.

Add a Daily Dose of Nuts and Chocolate
Nuts and seeds are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is associated with less cognitive decline as you age. Dark chocolate also has other powerful antioxidant properties. And it contains natural stimulants like caffeine, which can enhance focus and concentration.
Enjoy up to an ounce a day of nuts and dark chocolate to provide all the benefits you need without excess calories, fat, or sugar.

Add Avocados and Whole Grains
Every organ in the body depends on blood flow, especially the heart and brain. Eating a diet high in whole grains and fruits like avocados can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower bad cholesterol. This reduces your risk of plaque buildup and enhances blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to fire up brain cells.
Whole grains, like popcorn and whole wheat, also contribute dietary fiber and vitamin E. Though avocados have fat, it's the good-for-you, monounsaturated fat that contributes to healthy blood flow.