Features » Health and Beauty
IS YOUR BRAIN LETTING YOU DOWN?
Contributor / 2012-04-25 14:01:53
How are we all feeling? Good I hope. Now that Christmas is long gone you must be back on track with your normal regime. So let’s start with the Brain.
Now the cold weather has finally arrived I’m sure you have been making soups and stews. Well they are a perfect way to feed your brain. The brain requires a lot of energy to function properly. It requires essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6), B vitamins, complex carbohydrates, protein, zinc, antioxidants and especially water.
You can get the essential fatty acids from oily fish such as: salmon, trout, herrings, sardines, mackerel etc. Nuts and seeds including their oils so long as they are cold pressed oils. Wheat germ oil is also another good one. Eggs from chickens that have been fed on grains and free range contain good amounts too.
B vitamins are found in whole-grains, beans and pulses so include rye, barley, wheat, spelt, and oat grains. Lentils, butter beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans etc are also a good choice. There are plenty of different grains, beans and pulses so play about with them so that you cover the broad spectrum of B vitamins. They are all cheap so stock up the cupboard and throw some into everything that you’re cooking. If you do decide to buy the ready cooked ones make sure that they are sugar and salt free. I personally use the dried ones and soak the whole bag then pop them in my pressure cooker for a few minutes. What I don’t use that day I put in the freezer for future use.
Complex carbohydrates can be found in all the beans, pulses and grains as well. But you should also include plenty of carrots, Swedes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squashes, cauliflower etc. Try adding some brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, spelt or kamut. Complex carbohydrates are converted into glucose in the bloodstream at a steady rate so you feel fuller for longer and you won’t have energy crashes.
Protein, as we all know, is meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Protein is also found in green leafy vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds, quinoa and amaranth. Soya products (including tofu and soya milk) are also good sources as are lentils.
Zinc which is vital for so many functions in the body can be found in seeds, fish, chicken, eggs, wheat germ, brown rice and seaweed. I often add a small strip of seaweed to my cooking to add a lovely flavor.
Antioxidants again can be found in whole-grains, beans and fruits but also in onions, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, spinach, and soya. But try to only lightly cook them so as to avoid too much loss.
Lastly, water, every cell in our body needs it. Our brain doesn’t function very well without it. We lose concentration so if that sounds like you have a drink. Or alternatively make a nice pot of soup or stew with something from each of the above categories. I’m sure you will notice the feel good factor and your brain will thank you. Happy cooking. Remember your health is in your hands don’t let it slip through.