Brain food matters. How you think and feel can be directly affected by what you eat.
By simply following a brain-friendly diet, you might sharpen your memory, increase your attention span and improve your mood…
1. Oily fish
Did you know that the brain is nearly 60% fat? Healthy fats line each cell membrane helping to maintain their structure. Essential fats are also crucial for the brain’s integrity and ability to perform.
As these healthy fats cannot be manufactured within the body, they must obtained from the diet…
Keep your brain well nourished with salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, flax and chia seeds.
Blood sugar dips can cause concentration to go straight out the window. This is because our brains run on sugar to function, in fact the brain uses as much as 20% of energy needed by the body. All carbohydrates break down to sugar, but only the fibre-rich slow release carbohydrates provide sustained fuel to the brain.
Choose wholegrain bread, pasta, rice, oats, potato, quinoa, buckwheat, rye, and barley.
Exciting new research suggests that polyphenols found in mixed berries may help to improve cognitive performance, accuracy and reaction speeds for up to 6 hours post consumption.
This double-blind, placebo controlled trial gave promising results to indicate that adding these delicious fruits to our diet could perfect way to keep us at the top of our game.
Try adding berries to natural yoghurt, porridge and even smoothies.
4. Green tea
It may be tempting to rely on caffeine for brain power during exam season however overconsumption much may lead to anxiety, irritability, and even insomnia. Caffeine withdrawal may also result in headaches and low mood, which can wreak havoc with concentration.
Green tea on the other hand contains a much lower caffeine content and is rich in compound called l-theanine. This has been studied for it potential ability to provide feelings of relaxed alertness and clarity, without the jitters that keep us up all night.
5. Infused water
It may sound like old news, but a large proportion of the brain consists of water and dehydration can negatively affect concentration, short-term memory and even mood.
If you’re not a fan of plain water try making some flavoured water by infusing with berries, mint, cucumber and even lemon.
1. Whyte, R., Cheng, N., Lamport, D., Butler, L, & Williams,C.M. (2017) Polyphenol rich mixed berries maintain cognitive function over a 6 hour period. School of Pscyhology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, United Kingdon
2. Park, S. K., Jung, I. C., Lee, W. K., Lee, Y. S., Park, H. K., Go, H. J., Kim, K., Lim, N. K., Hong, J. T., Ly, S. Y. & Rho, S. S. (2011). A combination of green tea extract and l-theanine improves memory and attention in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Med Food,14(4), 334-43.
3. Gopinathan, P. M., Pichan, G. & Sharma, V. M. (1988). Role of dehydration in heat stress-induced variations in mental performance. Arch Environ Health,43(1), 15-7.
Lily Soutter, Nutritionist BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition, Dip ION
Lily graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Food and Human Nutrition (AfN accredited) where she was awarded the Sage Faculty for Excellence Scholarship. She then went on to gain a Nutritional Therapy Diploma from the Institute of Optimum Nutrition. Lily’s extensive knowledge of the science of food and health, enables her to regularly write for The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Independent, Women’s Health and Cosmopolitan. Her frequent TV appearances include ITV’s primetime series Save Money: Lose Weight with Dr. Ranj Singh. Lily sees clients from her clinic in Chelsea and from the Portobello Clinic, a private medical practice based in Notting Hill.