How to train the brain with nutritional food

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Nutritionist Simon Bandy from Seaford-based Health Plus lists his top ten brain fuel foods.

Last week was International Ideas Week – designed to encourage businesses to promote innovation and creativity within the workplace.

Which got me thinking that in order to get the creative juices flowing; our brains need to be as healthy as possible.

When most people think about getting fit, they think of physical fitness. But with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease on the rise, it’s really important that we also think about brain fitness and health.

One of the key ways of promoting brain health is to eat a healthy diet.

People often ask me which vitamins and minerals are important for an active mind. In the midst of exam season, students in particular often ask me how they can get a brain boost.

So, here are my top ten foods for optimum brain health:

1. Broccoli: This wonder vegetable is a fantastic source of Vitamin K, which helps improve brain power and cognitive function.

2. Oily fish: Omega fatty acids are really important for healthy brain function but must be obtained through consumption as they do not naturally occur in the human body. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are prime sources of omega-3 fats. However, if you can’t stomach seafood, try walnuts or pumpkin seeds instead, or a good quality omega supplement.

3. Tomatoes: Studies have found that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, may help to protect against the free radical damage thought to play a part in the development of dementia.

4. Strawberries: They’re currently in season and are full of Vitamin C, which can help boost brain power and agility. Why not pick your own strawberries from one of the many farm shops offering P.Y.O. in the Eastbourne area.

5. Asparagus: This is rich in folic acid, which can help to boost memory. It’s in season until the end of June, making it a good local food choice.

6. Sage: A sprinkling of sage has long been thought to improve memory, thanks to an active ingredient found in the herb that can boost chemicals that transmit messages in the brain.

7. Whole grains: Carbohydrates are a great source of energy. Whole grains have a low-GI to release glucose slowly into the bloodstream to stabilise energy levels and help you to stay alert. Choose wholemeal pasta, granary bread and brown rice over their white counterparts.

8. Lean beef: This is rich in iron, zinc and Vitamin B12, which can all help maintain a healthy brain.

9. Blueberries: Research from the United States suggests that blueberries may be effective in improving short term memory.

10. Dark chocolate: You can indeed enjoy a sweet treat, as dark chocolate is a powerful antioxidant that contains natural stimulants to increase the production of endorphins, the feel-good hormone. However, you do need to find dark chocolate with less than 10 grams of sugar for maximum health benefits.

Simon Bandy is a natural supplements expert for Health Plus; a Seaford based business established over 20 years ago with a mission to promote optimum nutrition across the world. Family-owned and run since November 1991, the company supplies a wide range of British made, high quality nutritional supplements at www.healthplus.co.uk

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