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NutiritionA healthy diet is usually prescribed as the first step to a healthy body and now researchers have found that certain foods can help maintain a healthy mind too. Adopt a brain boosting diet to help your children retain all those facts and figures in the upcoming exam season; more importantly the right diet can prevent the onset of age related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

So keep your mind razor sharp and give your brain a boost by adding the following to your diet:

  • Antioxidants stave off free radicals (which cause oxidative stress or age related decline) and slow down cognitive decline.
  • Brain Food: Apples, grapes, (rich in antioxidant called quercetin) and tomatoes (rich in lycopene).
  • Iron helps improve memory, concentration and attention span.
    Brain food: Beef and spinach.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the formation and maintenance of the myelin sheath which helps messages flow freely between cells, keeping the brain alert and help concentration.
    Brain Food: Flaxseed, sardines, salmon, trout, and walnuts.
  • Polyphenols help improve plaques and neurofibrillary tangles found in brain of Alzheimer’s disease patients.
    Brain Food: Cinnamon (good source of cinnamaldehyde and proanthocyanidins) and turmeric (rich in curcumin).
  • Protein has many benefits for the brain including improving alertness, brain efficiency and motivation and promoting efficient transmission of signals from one brain cell to another.
    Brain Food: Beet roots, chicken, egg whites and edamame.
  • Sugar (glucose) is fuel for the brain. Glucose is required for proper brain function such as good circulation to enhance mental abilities and releasing neurotransmitter chemicals that regulate anxiety and control moods, and allow the brain to work better.
    Brain Food: Legumes and whole grains.
  • Vitamins help enhance brain cell health, improve memory and protect against cognitive decline.
    Brain Food: Lettuce (Vitamin B), citrus fruit (Vitamin C) and nuts and seeds (Vitamin E).

– Beenish Israr
The writer is a PhD scholar studying Human Nutrition at University of Reading, UK. She is also a lecturer of Food and Nutrition at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on Janauary 27, 2013.