Tips for a brain-friendly diet

2016-11-02 06:00

APART from hard work and swotting for the exams it is also important to ensure you support yourself with good nutrition, UK nutritional expert Patrick Holford advises.

Our brains are a complex network of billions of neurons, each connecting to thousands of other neurons in a continual “ripple” of activity resulting in, on average,
6 000 thoughts a day.

During exams, and times of great stress, our brain activity goes into overdrive, so to speak, with more “connections” taking place than there are trees and their leaves in the entire Amazon rainforest.

Holford’s top 10 tips for a brain-friendly diet:

• Eat plenty of whole foods, such as whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables.

• Avoid sugary foods such as cake and biscuits. Try to stay away from foods with any hidden or added sugars.

• It is vital to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Choose dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, or peppers. Apples, berries, plums or citrus fruit are good choices for fruits. Bananas, grapes and potatoes should be eaten in moderation as they contain a lot of natural sugar. Fruit juices should be diluted.

• Avoid overcooking vegetables and eating “white” or processed foods.

• Protein should be combined with carbohydrate foods. This can be done by combining starchy foods (potatoes, pasta or rice) with protein such as fish, lentils, beans, eggs or tofu.

• Aim for eating at least three to five eggs a week, as they are rich in protein and Omega 3.

• Eat fish such as salmon, herring or mackerel two to three times a week as they are a rich source of essential fats.

• The best seeds to eat are flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. Grind them up to acquire all of their nutrients, and sprinkle them over salads or soups. Make sure they are raw and unsalted.

• Cold-pressed seed oils such as flaxseed oil and hemp oil are better to drizzle over salads instead of a dressing, or over vegetables instead of butter. Do not cook with these oils as their essential fats are damaged by heat.

• Reduce the amount of fatty, fried and saturated fat from meat and dairy in order to reduce damage to brain fats.
- Urban House Media.

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