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Feed Your Brain: Foods to Give You a Mind Boost

Posted by Andrew Peloquin

All of us here at BodyRock and The Daily HIIT make it a point to eat right. We eat food that makes our taste buds weep with happiness, and we definitely try to feed our muscles the protein that it needs. We work on giving our bones the Vitamin D and calcium that keep them strong, and we definitely eat lots of fiber for our digestion.

But, how often do we – and you, too – forget about feeding your brain?

Most people don’t know it, but the brain needs special nutrients like the rest of the body. If you want to have a fit mind as well as a fit body, it’s time to start eating the right brain foods!

Chili Peppers

Not just good for setting your mouth on fire, chili peppers are an alertness-boosting food that also gives your body a dose of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for nerve cell function, and eating more Vitamin C has proven to boost your mood. [1] If you can get past the spice, it’s a killer brain food!

Potatoes

Did you know that your brain uses about 20% of the energy burned every day? According to recent studies [2], having enough glucose (blood sugar) is important for healthy brain function. Potatoes are loaded with carbs, which is turned into the blood sugar that will keep your brain working at top speed!

Eggs

Eggs are loaded with tryptophan, which is needed by your brain in order to sleep, feel pain, and control your emotions properly. One experiment proved that tryptophan is necessary in order to read facial expressions properly [3], and it’s a nutrient that your body needs. Thankfully, eggs contain a lot of it!

Pumpkin Seeds

What makes pumpkin seeds so awesome is the fact that they’re loaded with iron – the mineral needed to produce new red blood cells. Without enough iron, the blood can’t transport sufficient oxygen to the blood, and there aren’t enough neurotransmitters to pass electrical signals between brain cells. Iron deficiency can lead to problems like lack of focus, memory loss, irritability, and ADHD [4].

Oysters

You may not like the slimy mollusk, but the zinc found in oysters is necessary for your brain health. Zinc helps the neurons in your brain to communicate with nerve cells, and insufficient zinc in your diet can even lead to the death of neurons – often associated with epilepsy, stroke, and Alzheimer’s. [5] If you can gulp the zinc-loaded slime down, your brain will thank you!

Steak

It’s not just 100% pure delicious – it’s also healthy! Beef is one of the best sources of Vitamin B12, a nutrient that has been linked to brain health. A lack of B12 can lead to neurological problems, smaller brain volume, alterations in your blood chemistry, and mental disturbances, as well as memory loss, abnormal limb sensations, and even pain! [6] Just one more reason to break out that BBQ grill!

Almonds

We all love nuts, but your brain is definitely Jones-ing for a hit of almonds. Almonds are loaded with Vitamin E, which prevents aging in the brain. The vitamin is also needed for cognition, which is the fancy way of saying memory, learning, attention, and pretty much every mental function. A recent study even found that Vitamin E can prevent brain damage and learning disabilities caused by mild brain injuries! [7]

 Take this advice to feed your brain, and check out the DailyHIIT Nutrition Guide to know what to put in your body. It’s definitely going to help you plan those menus just right…

Resources:

[1] http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8952624
[2] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014976341000148X
[3] http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-010-1850-7
[4] http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15622975.2011.570376
[5] http://www.jneurosci.org/content/31/45/16076.short
[6] http://www.neurology.org/content/77/13/1276.short
[7] http://nnr.sagepub.com/content/24/3/290.short