Happy Memory, Happy Brain
There are over 300 million sufferers of depression around the world. According to the World Health Organization, depression and mental disorders will be the second leading cause of disability in the world by 2020.
Because it is man’s first instinct to focus on the negative events in life, researchers of the University of North Florida studied 2,000 volunteers between ages 16 and 79. They were asked about their outlook on the future and their internal state of mind.
Researchers found three things that affect man’s attitude:
- Age plays a role in a person’s confidence. Younger participants had low self-esteem than the adults. They found out that as we age, we learn how to overcome our fears and develop self-confidence.
- A person’s mindset determines if a person is vulnerable to depression. 85% of the participants were uncertain about the future. They had thoughts like, “If something goes wrong, so be it…” and “I don’t believe everything is happening as I would like it…”
- The study showed that individuals with a stronger working memory had a more positive perception of the future and are less to be depressed. If a person can direct his thoughts to a positive direction, he can withstand adversity and live a happy and relaxed life.
In order to protect the brain from mental health conditions and boost its power, it is necessary to “feed” it with certain types of food that will enhance its performance.
Accordingly, here are the top energy boosting and memory enhancing food for the brain!
1Fish, dairy, nuts
Proteins are important for the flow of information. Amino acids, the smallest building blocks of proteins, act as messenger substances that ensure information flows quickly from one cell to the next.
Good sources of protein are lean meats, dairy products, whole grain cereals, nuts and seafood. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, such as salmon, are important for the nerves and memory.
Nuts are full of B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and the nerve messenger choline which prevents nervousness and improves concentration. Cashew and Brazil nuts are high in magnesium, which ensures a controlled protein and carbohydrate metabolism.
2Bananas, Apples, Avocados
Bananas are a quick source of energy and tryptophan. The brain converts tryptophan into serotonin which is the happy hormone. It also contains the nerve agent, magnesium.
Another favorite fruit is the apple, which contains many important B vitamins, pro-vitamin A, vitamins C and E, which all protect the brain from free radicals. While the lycopene it contains strengthens the brain’s ability to react and concentrate.
While avocados provide a lot of energy to the brain and nerves. It’s filled with vitamins B1 and B6, vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper and lecithin. Lecithin improves concentration and protects the brain cells.
Although avocados consist more than 30% fat, the unsaturated fatty acids maintain blood levels and give a feeling of fullness.
3Broccoli, Brussels sprout, Kale, Cabbage
Green leafy vegetables are full of iron, vitamins C and E and chlorophyll. These elements are great free radical scavengers that protect and stimulate the brain.
For the brain to function properly it needs oxygen. If free radicals persist in the body, they will damage all healthy cells.
To combat these free radicals, regular intake of vitamins C and E and beta-carotene is recommended.
4Sugar and fat
More than 20% of our daily energy needs are consumed by the brain alone. The common energy suppliers are sugar and fat.
However, sugar in the form of sweets only provide short-term energy and lead to greater energy waste. This will result to inconsistent blood sugar levels because sweets cannot sustain the energy the brain needs and therefore will feel more tired.
A better alternative are carbohydrates from whole-grain products. The carbohydrates from legumes are first split and then absorbed by the body, which ensures a constant blood sugar level.
In addition, legumes have a high nutrient and a low energy density and are full of antioxidants and lecithin, as well as choline.
Mild headaches, difficulty in concentration and exhaustion may be the first signs of dehydration. Water guarantees enough oxygen and blood gets to the brain.
An average of 2 to 3 liters of water, unsweetened drinks or tea is the recommended daily intake.
Eat Healthy and Be Happy
The brain is not an organ like the liver that can stock up on food. So, a healthy, balanced diet, in addition to regular exercise will supply the brain with essential nutrients.
For example, give your brain a boost before an exam and eat lots of protein, snack on a green smoothie and blueberries. Or, eat a banana to lower down your stress levels just before an important event.