Nine years ago, I attended the Learning Brain Expo in San Antonio Texas. As its name denotes, this three day conference was a feast of knowledge on everything about the brain. Up until the mid-1990’s, not much was known about the structure and functions of our brains. Then, with the advent of technology and visual imaging, brain research exploded. It was so interesting to learn the intricacies of our miracle brain.
Recently, I pulled out my syllabus from this conference and began re-reading the notes from the workshops I attended. One of my absolute favorites had to be “Brain Fuel: Nutrition for Peak Performance and Radiant Health” presented by Dr. Marcus Conyers. This seminar gave practical information on how to fuel your brain for optimum health. When your brain is properly and consistently fueled, the end result is staying younger longer. And who doesn’t want that? I used to be able to quote verbatim what was shared during the workshop, but lately, I’ve found myself forgetting some key points. I figured it was time to go back to the source to relearn these important tips so that I could not only share them with you, my devoted reader, but also get me back on track. All of us can benefit from maximizing our brain power.
I think the most important information I learned was the Top Ten Foods that not only boost your brain but keeps your waistline slim and trim as well. Build your menu around and eat as much as you can, each and every day, these fabulous brain foods: Bananas, Blueberries, Broccoli, Brown Bread, Frozen Yogurt, Nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), Olive Oil, Salmon, Spinach, and Tomatoes. I enjoy all of these smart foods except bananas. For some reason, bananas make my gag reflux act up, so I stay as far away from that fruit as possible.
Dr. Conyers also shared suggestions on how to benefit the most from your three daily meals:
Breakfast: Whatever you feed your stomach first thing in the morning feeds your brain later in the day. Start with protein. As I told my kids, “protein perks.” The best beginning breakfast choices include eggs, yogurt, and low fat cheese. Add oatmeal or whole wheat toast for fiber and your day will be off to a great start.
Lunch: Believe it or not, eating a handful of walnuts or almonds 20 minutes before lunch will not only curb your appetite, but give you the much needed mid-day protein lift. The best brain worthy lunch includes veggies and fruits followed by a small slice of whole wheat bread topped with low fat lunch meat.
Dinner: Start with carbohydrates first because they will make you sleepy later on. Things like fruits, vegetables, pasta, beans, and whole wheat bread. Eat your protein last. By the time the energy they provide wear off, the carbohydrates will kick in to start slowing you down.
Dr. Conyers advised that if you want to insure a healthy, youthful brain, you need to be radiant:
R educe Sugar (The average American eats 156 pounds of sugar annually. Yikes.)
A dd fish, olive oil and nuts
D etoxify by drinking lots of water
I inspire yourself (Look for and follow positive role models/mentors)
A erobic exercise is a must. Walking is best.
N ine fruits and vegetables a day
T ime out to relax. Slow down.
This information is more important than ever as we age. By properly maintaining a healthy mind and body, all of us will be better equipped to overcome whatever challenges life might throw our way.