The Blue Tree Clinic’s resident nutritionist talks healthy eating for the mind….A balanced diet is crucial for our body and organs to work effectively. If you don’t get adequate micronutrients (vits & mins) and macronutrients (carbs, proteins and fats) from your diet you will be more prone towards illness, disease, infections and fatigue.So what exactly is a balanced a diet, fundamentally, it depends upon your body and its daily needs and requirements but generally, if you follow these rules you can be sure you’re on the right track:
Fill you plate with…..
- Protein – Ensure you have protein at each meal, your body requires 0.5-1g per kg of body weight. E.g. 60kg women will need at least 60g of protein a day.
- Carbohydrate – Add a portion of healthy carbs to each meal, your brain has a blood brain barrier, which means it can only untilise carbs for fuel, not protein or fats. Healthy sources are; Quiona, Pearly Barley, Brown Rice and Buckwheat.
- Fats – Fat has been given a bad name in the past few decades all thanks to the 1950’s and the birth of the ‘low fat’ phenomenon. Avoid saturated fats from animal products and fill up on the healthy variety from oil fish, plants produce such as avocados, coconuts and nuts and seeds. Fats help the body to absorb certain nutrients and are a great source of some vitamins (A and D), also essential amino acids, which the human body is unable to produce on its own. Bodywise, they provide cellular structure and support.
Here’s my top 5 foods to help enhance cognition!
- Micronutrients – Forget 5aDay, it’s now 7aDay and in some countries 10aDay! Variety is key here, the more colours you fill your plate with the wider the variety of nutritional benefit, ensure you have greens at every meal and add colour to them, for example, peppers, aubergine, tomatoes and carrots.
Energy is the fuel for every organ in the human body. The brain is no different! The ability to concentrate comes from the sufficient energy intake in the form of glucose in our blood. As the blood circulates in the body, it will deliver this energy to the brain. Low Glycemic Index (GI) carbs are the best choice.
As a powerful source of zinc, a regular intake of 50g of pumpkin seeds will enhance memory and thinking skills, not too mention boost our immune system response to the infection
These contain Omega-3 fatty acids, you have probably heard of these before. They come in different forms called ALA, EPA and DHA but we can only get these from our diet, hence the name an essential fatty acid. EPA and DHA are the best form to get from oily fish, nuts and seeds contain ALA which takes a bit longer to convert to EPA and DHA inside the body. The intake of omega-3 will not only enhance the brains function but also heart and joint health. The best types of oily fish are salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, etc.
It is said that blueberries improve or delay our short-term memory loss. With a low kcal count (57 per 100g) and high amount of fiber, coupled with protein to slow fructose release these are perfect snack.
When cooked these contain large amounts of lycopene (a powerful antioxidant), tomatoes offer a great source of protection against free radical damage (from pollution, carcinogenic items/food and illness) of cells in our body and their components (DNA in particular). A frequent intake of tomatoes will help to stop the development of dementia, which partly occurs due to the free radical damage.