Food for Thought: Eat Better, Think Better

Adult black woman eating healthy green saladGood nutrition is essential for healthy brain function whether you are helping your kids with homework, or just day to day routines. With the multi-tasking attitude of today, a balanced diet rich in nutrients found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and lean proteins can help maintain overall health. Coupled with the right amount of sleep and exercise, good foods can be the barrier to other distractions like colds, the flu and the general run-of-the-mill sickness.

Omega-3 fatty acids for cognitive function

Help your memory and overall cognitive functions by including omega-3 fatty acids into your regular diet. Add foods rich in Omega-3s to your family’s menu. Find omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, tuna and other cold-water fish as well as in flaxseeds, flaxseed oils, walnuts and some eggs fortified with Omega-3s. According to one study performed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, healthy adults can improve their working memory by increasing their Omega-3 fatty acid intake.

Blueberries to improve cognition

Blueberries are considered a superfood. They are an ideal snack for any working woman on the go. Instead of snacking on empty calories found in candy or chips, grab a handful of nutrient-dense blueberries. Not only are these blue gems snack-sized and sweet, blueberries are low in calories and rich in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. Blueberries also contain flavonoids, which have been determined to help improve cognitive function—more brain power.

Carbohydrates to benefit memory

Dr. Janice Hermann, a nutrition education specialist from Oklahoma State University states, “The major function of carbohydrates is to provide energy. The body uses glucose to provide most of the energy for the human brain.” A bowl of steel-cut oats provides essential carbohydrates and the glucose needed to help memory capacity and overall concentration. Top the oatmeal with fresh blueberries for a nutritionally strong morning.

Broccoli and spinach: brain foods

Both broccoli and spinach contain iron, folate, zinc and vitamins A, B6 and C. These micronutrients are needed for brain function. In addition, the dark leafy green vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which benefit overall health. Add a serving of steamed broccoli or a spinach salad with fresh strawberries to the dinner menu. Keep fresh, washed broccoli in the refrigerator as a snack option for your whole family.

Water for overall health

The Institute of Medicine, as reported by the Mayo Clinic, has determined that males should drink about 13 cups of water daily and females need to drink about nine cups of water daily. Lack of water leads to dehydration, which can affect concentration. Keep the energy drinks and sugary sodas away.



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