Vanity is an evil beast.
Drive through any urban or suburban neighborhood, and you’re bound to pass a few gyms.
Inside, folks are huffing, puffing and dripping sweat in the name of looking good. Oh sure, they’ll tell us they’re doing it for their health – and some genuinely are. But for most of the 20- and 30-somethings wiping their brows, it’s a lie that even they don’t truly believe.
If health were their first concern, all of America would be practicing a new form of exercise.
It’s called neurobics.
As its name implies, it’s all about exercising your mind.
It’s not hard. You’ll never break a sweat or find yourself out of breath.
But what most folks forget is that our brain is an organ that relies on some very precise chemistry. And if the mix of chemicals isn’t just right, it will never work at its peak efficiency.
Eat This, Think Better
There is all sorts of scientific evidence that proves it: What we eat affects the way we think.
Just as bodybuilders and fitness experts maintain a strict diet that enhances the way they look and the way they build muscles, we must feed our brain the nutrients it needs.
It’s not hard.
Here’s an ideal day’s menu.
We recommend you start the day by mixing a tablespoon of flaxseeds in with your breakfast – preferably a bowl of heart-healthy oatmeal.
Flaxseed contains an abundance of alpha-linolenic acid. It’s a healthy fat that helps keep your cerebral cortex in good shape.
Almonds are another good option. Just a handful in the morning will help boost your memory and increase your attention span.
For lunch, it’s no surprise we recommend a big salad. But make sure it contains ample spinach leaves and lentils.
Dark greens like spinach help slow the decline of our brain’s function. Researchers at Chicago’s Rush University tracked nearly 1,000 seniors over a five-year period. They found that folks who ate just one or two servings of green leafy vegetables daily had the same mental sharpness as somebody 11 years younger.
For dinner, we recommend foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. The essential fatty acid not only is critical for heart health but has shown itself to be a significant player in overall brain function.
Other key dinnertime ingredients are whole grains like brown rice, barley, quinoa and couscous. They are high in fiber, complex carbohydrates and, once again, omega-3. But what’s key about whole grains is they slowly release glucose into our brain… giving it a shot of long-lasting fuel.
And finally… dessert.
While few sugary treats can be considered healthy, there are some proven benefits to dark chocolate.
When it comes to brain health, our favorite form of candy is known for its ability to get our body to release dopamine – a chemical vital to brain function that’s also important in learning and memory.
Fuel for Thought
Putting it all together, it’s key to understand that mental decline due to aging doesn’t occur because of the loss of brain cells. No, it happens because the remaining cells become less efficient at communicating with one another.
Anything we can do to enhance the way our cells talk to each other goes a long way in boosting mental acuity.
The food we eat plays a huge role.
Give your brain a solid workout… but don’t forget to fuel it with the good stuff.
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