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Eat Your Way To A Sharper Mind With These 5 Strategies

Written by: Allison Liu, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Allison Liu

If you want to think clearly, have more energy and improve your mood and memory, then how and what you eat are critical pieces of the brain health puzzle.

Woman cutting some cucumber in the kitchen.

Several years ago, we used to stock up our freezer every week with our favorite ready meals that we could pop straight into the microwave or oven. A few minutes later with no hassle and little washing up, dinner was ready. What we did not realize was that we were exchanging our health for speed and convenience. However, that is no longer the case and I am now passionate about eating well to nourish my brain and helping you to do the same.


Your brain is a remarkable organ that serves as the command center of your entire being. It not only controls your thoughts, emotions, and actions but also plays a vital role in your overall well-being. However, your brain has specific needs that must be met in order for it to function optimally. One of the most impactful ways to support your brain's health and performance is through the food you eat and how you eat it. By prioritizing the quality of your meals and taking the time to prepare and enjoy them, you can nourish your brain and unlock its full potential.


Here are five essential strategies to optimize your brain's function through mindful eating


Become a label reader


When it comes to processed food, you do not know what you are eating unless you look. Whenever you place something into your shopping basket, be curious and look at the label. Do you know what every ingredient is? Is there anything listed that you cannot pronounce? How much sugar does it contain?


As you compare one brand with another you can start to see the difference and can choose the ones with the best ingredients. I have two general rules to guide you here: if you have no idea what an ingredient is, it is probably best not to eat it; and the shorter the ingredient list, the better. When it comes to your brain, quality needs to come first so try to avoid food that is so highly processed it is not real food anymore.


Do not reheat food in plastic


While it is quick and easy to ‘remove sleeve and pierce film’ or place leftovers in the microwave in a plastic tub, microplastics can leach into your food as it is heated. With repeated ingestion, microplastics can lead to neurodegenerative diseases so this is definitely a habit worth changing. Instead, take a couple of minutes to transfer your meal to an ovenproof dish to reheat. It is a simple way to protect your brain.


Eat real food


There is nothing more nutritious - or delicious - than a fresh, homemade meal, lovingly prepared with real food. Imagine the smell of slicing a red pepper, crushing a clove of garlic or chopping fresh basil. Not only is real food packed with nutrients that support your brain but it also contains the fiber necessary for good digestion and immune health. Try to choose organic produce wherever possible to limit your exposure to pesticides and wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly.


If you struggle to prepare meals from scratch every day, aim for once or twice a week and try to include a portion of fresh vegetables or a salad along with a ready-meal. Remember, your brain needs the most nutritious food it can get.


Slow down to eat


If you experience acid reflux or heartburn, it may be necessary to adopt a slower pace when eating your meals. When you rush through your meals, your body interprets it as a sign of stress, causing your digestion to slow down. Consequently, your meal lingers in your stomach, leading to fermentation and resulting in uncomfortable, sharp, and acidic burps.


To alleviate this, make a conscious effort to slow down your eating pace. Take the time to chew your food thoroughly and savor each bite, allowing your digestive system to effectively extract the essential nutrients needed to support both your brain and overall health.


Avoid eating within 3 hours of bedtime


When it comes to maintaining a healthy brain and promoting optimal cognitive function, quality sleep plays a crucial role. However, when we consume a heavy meal close to bedtime, our body's digestive system is still actively working to process and break down the food. This can lead to discomfort, indigestion, and even acid reflux, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.


Make it a habit to finish your dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime and then refrain from eating again until breakfast. If you feel a little hungry around bedtime, try having a glass of warm milk instead.


Final words of wisdom


Every small change you can make in your daily habits to eat your way to a sharper mind can have a profound impact on your overall well-being. By prioritizing the quality of the food you eat, taking time to prepare and enjoy your meals, and being mindful of your eating habits, you have the power to nourish your brain and think more clearly.


What conscious decision can you make to support your mood, memory, and mental sharpness? How can you not only fuel your body but also nourish your mind? Your brain makes you who you are and is a remarkable gift. I hope you feel more empowered to make your meals the most nutritious and healthful they can be.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info! Read more from Allison!

Allison Liu Brainz Magazine
 

Allison Liu, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Allison Liu, a brain health coach and expert in helping people get their brain younger, healthier and stronger, struggled with early warning signs of memory loss in her late forties. Forgetting what she was saying in the middle of saying it, feeling increasingly irritable and struggling with panic attacks, she felt she was losing her sense of self. Adopting a science-based approach, which she uses with her clients today, she increased her own ‘brain reserve’, improving her memory, mood and relationships. She now coaches clients around the world through a personalised plan to prevent or slow down cognitive decline so they can remain present with those they love. Her mission: Staying sharp for life.

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