Strength Train Your Brain
Brain FoodEat Smart
Food is the fuel that keeps your brain running, but noshing on the right stuff is key. "You need a huge variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for maximum brain health," says Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, PhD, a professor of neurosurgery and physiological science at UCLA. That means piling your plate with as many different fruits and vegetables as you can every day, including "berries and apples, because they contain a lot of vitamin C and flavonoids, both of which are powerful antioxidants that keep your brain cells in prime condition," Gomez-Pinilla says. Broccoli and spinach have more vitamins A, C, and E than most other veggies do. And fish is crucial because it's chock-full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which keep the membranes of brain cells strong. Be sure to eat every few hours to regulate your blood sugar. If it gets too low, you won't be able to think straight.
Hungry? Try our sample day's menu below -- it will help make you sharper by bedtime.Power Meal: Breakfast
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 sprinkle crunchy whole-grain cereal like Grape-Nuts or Kashi GoLean
1 big handful blueberries
1 cup coffeeRev-It-Up Results
Greek yogurt is high in protein, which provides a steady supply of energy, helping your brain stay charged all morning. Protein also increases levels of epinephrine and dopamine, two chemicals that make you more alert. The carbs in the cereal give you a dose of glucose, which gets you going. Blueberries are potent antioxidants that have been shown to spur brain-cell production and help improve memory. Caffeine, a stimulant, speeds up your brain and can boost memory and reasoning, research shows.Power Meal: Lunch
1 ounce walnuts (about 14 halves)
Fruits and vegetables such as red grapes and yellow peppers
1 cup green teaRev-It-Up Results
Spinach is loaded with vitamin E, which helps neutralize the free radicals in your body that damage brain cells, and the oil in the vinaigrette aids in the absorption of the vitamin. Walnuts are a top source of omega-3s, which reduce inflammation in the brain and allow it to function properly. Colorful fruits and vegetables contain an array of brain-boosting antioxidants and nutrients, and green tea is rich in flavonoids, which improve mental performance.Power Meal: Dinner
1/2 cup fortified whole wheat pasta
4 ounces salmon
1 cup broccoli or brussels sproutsRev-It-Up Results
Fortified pasta is enriched with folic acid, a nutrient that may improve brain function, according to a study. Tomato sauce is loaded with antioxidants that help prevent inflammation. Fish such as salmon and mackerel are packed with omega-3s. Broccoli and brussels sprouts contain vitamin E.Smart Snack
For a quick boost, combine 1 cup green tea + 1/2 cup strawberries + 1/2 cup grapes or Concord grape juice + 1/2 cup blueberries + 1 cup ice + 1 tablespoon agave syrup in a juicer or blender. Process until smooth.
Recipe from Dave Grotto, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member
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