Posts Tagged ‘brainfood’

Brain Fitness Foods: Top Ten Edibles for The Brain

Monday, March 14th, 2011

By way of the “Shape” top eleven we have the 10 best foods for the brain (we left out Yerba Mate tea since it’s a drink…):

Brain Fitness Food #1: Beets

Scientists at Wake Forest University found that natural nitrates in beets can increase blood flow to the brain, thereby improving mental performance.

Brain Fitness Food #2: Sage

Sage contains compounds that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. A study published in Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior showed that young adults who took sage-oil extract (50 micro liters) before cognitive tests performed better than those given a placebo.

Brain Fitness Food #3: Beef

As published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition women with healthy iron levels performed better on mental tasks and completed them faster than those with poor iron status. Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body and to the brain.

Brain Fitness Food #4: Sardines

Rich with EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids sardines facilitate communication among brain cells and help regulate neurotransmitters responsible for mental focus.

Brain Fitness Food #5: Egg Yolks

Egg yolks are a key source of choline which the body uses to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory formation. Eating protein-rich foods like eggs for breakfast can improve overall cognitive performance, according to Swiss researchers.

Brain Fitness Food #6: Oats

Since our bodies break down the carbohydrates in whole-grain oats very slowly, oats help keep glucose levels high for several hours rather than providing a rush and crash like more readily available carbs found in refined sugars, potatoes and wheat.

Brain Fitness Food #7: Lentils

Lentils are rich in folate, a B vitamin shown to help boost brain power. Folate also plays a role in decreasing levels of amino acids that can impair brain functioning.

Brain Fitness Food #8: Ground Flaxseed

Flax is the best source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—a healthy fat that improves the workings of the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain that processes sensory information like touch and taste.

Brain Fitness Food #9: Walnuts

Scientists at Tufts University in Boston found that a diet rich in walnuts may improve mental performance. Walnuts have high levels of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

Brain Fitness Food #10: Spinach and Other Vegetables

Harvard Medical School researchers found that women who ate the most vegetables—especially green leafy vegetables (spinach and romaine lettuce) and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower)—experienced a slower rate of cognitive decline than women who ate the fewer vegetables.

Brain Food, Mood, Brain Fitness & Neurogenesis

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
leptin and brain fitness

Leptin And Brain Fitness

This post could be otherwise titled: what is Leptin and what does it have to do with brain training and brain fitness?

Leptin (from the Greek leptos meaning thin) is a protein hormone produced from fat tissue; it is critical in regulating appetite and metabolism.

As we consume calories our bodies produce Leptin. In turn our hypothalamus reacts to the Leptin by inducing the “I’m full” feeling and by increasing energy consumption, particularly from stored fat. For the Leptin regulation system to operate effectively, our Leptin receptors need to be working well. But toxins and other harmful stressors can damage our brain’s Leptin receptors causing Leptin resistance. Leptin resistance is bad.

New research shows that Leptin has a tremendous impact on brain functioning and brain health. Leptin is essential to neurogenesis (the development of brain cells), brain nerve fiber growth, the formation of brain synapses, neuron excitability, neuro-protection and the regulation a compound that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s!. A well-functioning Leptin system improves brain fitness, mental sharpness, leads to better memory, and enhances mood. Leptin may also protect the brain against the development of mood and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

To balance your leptin levels naturally:
  • Decrease sugar and grain consumption: sugar, high fructose corn syrup and heavy doses of grains, such as wheat, oats, rice, and starchy vegetables, will increase leptin resistance.
  • Steer clear of trans-fats.
  • Eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats, such as avocados, extra-virgin coconut and olive oils, grass-fed meat, free-range eggs, almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts, and hemp, flax and chia seeds.
  • Do high-intensity exercise for short stints. This will stimulate large secretions of human growth hormone, which boost fat-burning mechanisms and help to regulate leptin levels.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Leptin levels typically rise during sleep.

You can also take supplements to remove toxins from the body and protect your leptin regulators!

Brain Food | Magnesium On The Brain

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Professor Guosong Liu, Director of the Center for Learning and Memory at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and her team have shown that increased levels of magnesium as a dietary supplement boosts brain power.

Smart Mouse

Smart Mouse

“Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of many tissues in the body, including the brain and, in an earlier study, we demonstrated that magnesium promoted synaptic plasticity in cultured brain cells,” explains Dr. Liu. “Therefore it was tempting to take our studies a step further and investigate whether an increase in brain magnesium levels enhanced cognitive function in animals.”

Dr. Liu’s team created a new magnesium compound, magnesium-L-threonate (MgT) to increase magnesium in the brain’s of rats of different ages and studied the impact on the brain functions of the rats.

“We found that increased brain magnesium enhanced many different forms of learning and memory in both young and aged rats,” says Dr. Liu. They also saw increases in the number of synapses, activation of key signaling molecules and an enhancement of short- and long-term the synaptic processes critical to learning and memory.

*** The issue is, according to my supplement contacts, that magnesium chelates (like the new one mentioned in the study – MgT) are only 4 to 12% magnesium – which means you have to take 10grams (16 capsules) to get 500mg Magnesium. Brazil Nuts and Chocolate are the top Magnesium foods groups. ***

The control rats in the study ate a normal diet widely accepted to contain sufficient magnesium. The observed effects, the authors conclude, derive from an elevation of magnesium to levels higher than provided by a normal diet.

“Our findings suggest that elevating brain magnesium content via increasing magnesium intake might be a useful new strategy to enhance cognitive abilities,” explains Dr. Liu. “Moreover, half the population of industrialized countries has a magnesium deficit, which increases with aging. This may very well contribute to age-dependent memory decline; increasing magnesium intake might prevent or reduce such decline.”

View original report

Brain Food | Diet And Brain Power

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Brain food! New research indicates that particular foods can influence neurogenesis, leading to a greater proliferation of new nerve cells in particular regions of the brain.

The study focused on polyunsaturated fatty acids, derived from vegetables such as corn, soybeans, sunflowers and pumpkins as well as blue fish, and polyphenols found in tea, grapes, wine, olive oil, cocoa, nuts and other fruits and vegetables.

Spanish scientists from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona who fed mice a diet rich in polyunsaturates and polyphenols noted greater cell proliferation in the two areas of the brain where neurogenesis is produced—the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus. (These areas become severely damaged in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that a diet rich in these antioxidants could delay the onset or slow down the progress of this neurodegenerative disease.)