To keep your brain healthy and buzzing all day long not only is it important to include brainy bites (brain superfoods) in our diet, but it is equally important to eat them at the right times of the day to maximise their benefit.
Follow this day long plan to give your brain the added advantage that only these foods can give.
Cinnamon Early Morning
Research clearly suggests that both the taste and smell of this spice significantly improves scores on memory tests. Two compounds found in cinnamon - proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde lead to greater cerebral blood flow, thus allowing for better processing of information and a sharper more efficient brain.
How to have it: Add just a pinch to your morning cup of tea/coffee or have cinnamon water first thing on after getting up (to make: squeeze juice of half a lemon, and add a pinch of cinnamon to a cup of warm water).
Cinnamon had early morning also keeps you blood sugar stable through the day, and thus help keep diabetes at bay.
Eggs for Breakfast
Yes, an omelette breakfast is a smart choice for our brain. That because eggs give us choline, an essential B vitamin that helps produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in mental clarity, memory and logical reasoning. In fact low levels of acetylcholine have been found to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease too.
How to eat it: Have an egg a day (unless otherwise advised). Just one egg yolk has as much as 125 mg of choline (about one-third of our daily intake requirement).
Eggs in breakfast help you keep your weight in check too as they are loaded with protein (deliver about 6 grams), which increase a feeling of fullness and reduce appetite for subsequent meals.
Yogurt for Lunch
Include yogurt in your lunch meal because it contains amino acid tyrosine, that helps perk us up, and is also needed for the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin, both of which help keep our brain buzzing, happy and healthy.
How to eat it: Sprinkle yogurt with sunflower seeds, chopped nuts or wheat germ for a pleasant crunch. Have at least a cup a day every day for lunch.
Yogurt is a great tummy saver too as it delivers some good bacteria (called probiotics) which keep our gut in good shape and helps avoid the afternoon lethargy that usually happens after a heavy lunch.
Walnuts as Evening Snacks
Walnuts an ultimate brain food! Loaded with antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids, they help iron out memory kinks and boost our cognitive abilities. Plus vitamin E in these nuts help prevent cognitive decline too.
How to eat it: Munch on them in the evening; pair with a few raisins or anjeer (figs) or make a walnuts pesto sauce (mix up walnuts instead of pine nuts with olive oil, garlic, salt and fresh basil) and have with a cracker. Have at least 6-7 halves every day.
Suffer from evening blues? Docosahexaenoic and eicosapentanoic acids that one can replenish via walnuts help keep us in a good mood and depression away.
Turmeric Milk at Night
Have the yellow wonder - haldi milk just before you go to sleep. That’s because turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds that help spice up our brain, keep memory sharp and Alzheimers away. Curcumin in it known to boost brain proliferation and help it heal itself.
How to drink it: Add just half a tablespoon of pure haldi to warm milk at night.
Turmeric milk is a known cancer slayer. There is some evidence that it may help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place too. So had at night, it helps the body heal itself as you sleep.
(Kavita Devgan is a weight management consultant, nutritionist, health columnist and author of ‘Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People’.)
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