Health & Fitness

6 ways to boost your brain power

Health & Fitness

6 ways to boost your brain power

There’s a new school of thought (if you’ll pardon the pun) about brain health: think of this organ like a muscle – it benefits from exercise, rest and a healthy diet. “We generally thought that the brain was this autonomous, protected organism on the top of our necks...That is just not true. Our lifestyle choices have tremendous impact on the health of our brains,” says Dr. Carol Greenwood, a senior scientist at brain research centre Baycrest Health Sciences. (Its fundraiser, The Brain Project, a Toronto-wide public art exhibition with 100 installations, launches on June 3.)


By brain health, Greenwood means everything from cognitive function – memory, reasoning and multi-tasking – to the actual physical health of the tissue inside our heads. “We now understand that a lot of the obesity- and lifestyle-associated disorders, things like high cholesterol and high blood pressure and type two diabetes, are all dementia-risk factors,” she says. The reason? These disorders cause inflammation and oxidative stress, which damage tissue. Here are foods that can help.

 

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6 foods to boost your brain power

Boost your brain power: Omega-3 fatty acids

Consider omega-3 fatty acids like cell towers for your brain – they help nerve cells communicate with each other. Dr. Carol Greenwood from Baycrest recommends eating fatty-acid-rich-foods up to four times a week. If you don’t like fish, try nuts or omega-3-fortified foods such as egg and milk. READ MORE: Why women need more sleep than men

By: Carli Whitwell Source: getty.com Credits: ELLE Canada

6 foods to boost your brain power

Boost your brain power: Eat fruits and vegetables

“We know that the fruits and vegetables have high levels of antioxidants, and all of those will help in terms of lowering oxidative stress and inflammation,” says Greenwood. But… READ MORE: 9 eating habits that can change your life

By: Carli Whitwell Source: getty.com Credits: ELLE Canada

6 foods to boost your brain power

Boost your brain power: Try raw, leafy greens

…The best vegetables for brain health are raw, leafy greens and broccoli and cabbages. These contain Vitamin K, which supports the production of proteins and fats in cells. READ MORE: 7 food and drinks you should avoid when flying

By: Carli Whitwell Source: getty.com Credits: ELLE Canada

6 foods to boost your brain power

Boost your brain power: Eat complex carbs

Like you, your brain loves carbs. But we’re not talking late-night-trip-to-the-convenience-store carbs. We mean complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole-grain pasta, whole-wheat bread, beans and whole oats. “Carbs are the primary energy source that the brain uses,” says Greenwood. “To make certain that your brain has energy while you’re writing that exam, or going to that important business meeting, you want to consume complex carbohydrates before. These are fairly low in their glycemic index, so they stay in your bloodstream for long periods of time.” READ MORE: What is cloud bread and is it good for you?

By: Carli Whitwell Source: getty.com Credits: ELLE Canada

6 foods to boost your brain power

Boost your brain power: Eat red meat sparingly

Sorry to be such a downer as we head into BBQ season, but you should probably only eat red meat about once a month because of the high concentration of fat. Also no-nos? Processed meats (lunch meats) and processed foods. READ MORE: 5 things you need to know about souping

By: Carli Whitwell Source: getty.com Credits: ELLE Canada

6 foods to boost your brain power

Boost your brain power: Skip the second glass of wine

“That glass of red wine a day is probably fine and maybe supportive because it helps to protect the blood vessels. But we know that too much alcohol is not good for you,” says Greenwood. READ MORE: 6 amazing superherbs you need to add to your diet

By: Carli Whitwell Source: getty.com Credits: ELLE Canada

 

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Health & Fitness

6 ways to boost your brain power