Boost Your Brain Power with Powerful "Smart" Foods - 2

By : Jeannine Virtue

Nuts and Seeds: - Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of the power antioxidant Vitamin E. Studies show that higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline. Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts and un-hydrogenated nut butters all provide benefits. **Recommendation: Add an ounce of nuts or seeds to your daily diet. Be careful that you do not overdo this brain-booster. Too much of this higher calorie food will add to your waistline.

Beans: - Beans stabilize glucose (blood sugar) levels. The brain cannot store glucose and The brain is dependent on glucose for fuel yet cannot store glucose. Beans provide steady stream of energy, as well as a high amount of fiber. With so many varieties - black beans, lima beans, pinto, kidney, garbanzo,Great Northern, Navy and others - it's easy to add variety in this under-recognized super food section. Peas and lentils, other foods in the legume family, also provide benefit. **Recommendation: Add at least a 1/2 cup of beans or other legumes to your diet every day.

Whole Grains: - Oatmeal, brown rice, whole-grain breads, popcorn and barley promote cardiovascular health and good blood flow throughout the organ system, which includes the brain. Wheat germ, though not technically a whole grain, also goes on the "super foods" list because wheat germ adds fiber, Vitamin E and some omega-3s. **Recommendation: Add three slices of whole grain bread, a 1/2 cup of oatmeal or other whole-grain cereal, or two tablespoons of wheat germ to your daily diet.

Freshly Brewed Tea: - Whether it's hot or iced, freshly brewed tea contains a modest amount of caffeine which, when used in moderation, can boost brain power by enhancing memory, focus, and mood. Tea also has potent anti oxidants, especially the class known as catechines, which promotes healthy blood flow. Green tea contains chemicals that enhance mental relaxation and alertness and is especially good for brain function. **Recommendation: Two to three cups a day of freshly brewed tea. Note that bottled or powdered teas don't count.

Dark Chocolate: - Dark chocolate contains several natural stimulants, including caffeine, which enhance focus and concentration, have powerful antioxidant properties and stimulate the production of endorphins to helps improve mood. Like nuts, seeds and avocado, this is another brain- boosting super food to be used in moderation. **Recommendation: Enjoy 1/2 ounce of dark chocolate daily. Note that the more processed chocolate varieties such as milk chocolate and white chocolate do not provide the same amount of benefit as dark chocolate.

Water: - Water, technically, is not a food. However, it is am absolute must for brain performance. The brain is about 80 percent water and a primary rule of brain nutrition is hydration. As a general rule, if your urine is pale yellow and almost odorless, you are drinking enough water. **Recommendation: Drink pure water and plenty of it - at least eight glasses daily. The two to three recommended cups of fresh-brewed tea count toward this brain hydration requirement. Higher activity levels will increase this requirement, as will hot and humid weather, illness, pregnancy and breast feeding.

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Jeannine Virtue is a freelance journalist who writes on a variety of topics relating to ADHD, memory, depression and stress. Visit the Attention Deficit Disorder Help Center at for effective drug- free alternatives to Ritalin, Concerta and other ADHD medications. Email Jeannine Virtue at jvirtue@add-adhd-
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