Brain Food= What your Brain hungers for

[Picture credit: http://mattovermatter.com/2010/11/30/dale-allen-speaks-on-the-imbalance-of-brain-hemispheres/]

I have decided that I’m going to start a series of posts here to collate wonderful, healthful, amazing discoveries made by scientists, doctors, nutritionists and dietitians even, about food. Basically the goodness of certain food.

First post in this series is obviously ‘Brain food’, since this year is my ‘A’ level year. Gotta know what’s good for me!

Eating what your Brain wants you to eat

A few facts to start with:

  • One 25-year Harvard Medical School study of more than 13,000 women showed that the participants who ate relatively high amounts of vegetables over the years had less age-related decline in memory. Cruciferous vegetables and leafy green vegetables had the biggest effect on helping women retain their memory during the course of the study. In another study, the phytochemicals, anthocyanin and quercetin, actually reversed some of the age-related memory deficits in laboratory animals. (link)

  • The most important meal of the day may be so because it can improve your memory. According to studies, having a breakfast with a high-protein food (eggs, meat, dairy, beans) and a high-fiber starch (whole wheat bread or high fiber cereal) can improve memory and enhance attention. One study showed that those who consumed breakfast cereal had a more positive mood at the start of the test sessions, performed better on a spatial memory task, and felt calmer at the end of the test session than those in the “no breakfast” condition. (link)

Now for the foods!

ONE: Blueberries (one of my favourite fruits!)

Mr Brain wants it because…

Research Shows That Blueberries Improve Memory and Promote Weight Loss

Blueberries are a superfood packed with flavonoids that boost memory and help you lose weight. Blueberries contain powerful antioxidants that have a healing effect on the body. They target belly fat. They are high in fiber, low in calories and low in sugar, making them a perfect snack. Flavonoids boost memory and protect against Alzheimer’s. A study by scientists at the University of Cin9cinnati found that subjects drinking more blueberry juice showed memory improvements. (link)

TWO: Wholegrains (!!!!!YAY!!!!!!)

 Brown rice, oatmeal and foods made with 100% whole wheat flour can also help increase the blood flow which can help give your brain oxygen it needs to be at peak performance. They also help supply the brain with glucose, something your brain needs for clear functioning. Whole grains are better than refined grains like white rice and white flour (maida) which do not have the vital nutrients. (link)

Several studies also suggest that the intake of carbohydrates from food sources that are high in fiber and low in sugar or refined flour may be favorable for some parameters of cognitive performance. The reason that this may work is because the high-fiber foods stay in your system longer and do not give the quick rise in blood sugar that you would get from foods made from refined flour or sugar. (link)


THREE: Fish and nuts and (sunflower) seeds (Random musing: I like fish. I like nuts. But fish and nuts together, I think not.)

A study conducted by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago followed more than 3,000 men and women for six years to see how diet affected memory. People who ate fish at least once a week had a 10 percent slower decline compared with those who did not eat fish, a difference that gave them the memory and thinking ability of a person three years younger. (link)

Mom was right when she insisted that fresh cooked fish made her kids intelligent. Fish that are normally pushed down the kids’ throat of by moms are sardines, salmon, herring, mackerel, etc. These types are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. For example, tuna is rich in good fatty acids required by the brain cells for a sharp memory as well as for general memory improvement. Other than omega 3, sardines carry a nutrient called chlorine, another ingredient, which is deemed excellent for memory improvement. (link)

 

Like fatty fish, nuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids. They are also rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E. Antioxidants support healthy brain cell communication through the neurotransmitter pathways, and promote healthy blood circulation, especially throughout the vast network of tiny blood vessels of the brain, enabling you to stay focused, alert, and functioning at peak mental capacity. (link)
 
Nuts have been highly touted as a great way to get healthy fats into your diet, but many people forget that seeds fall into this category too. Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E, with around 30 grams (one ounce) providing 30% of your total daily intake. Vitamin E is one of the primary antioxidants that will help decrease the decline of memory as you age, making it one nutrient you’ll want to be sure to consume. (link)

 

FOUR: Dark green vegetables

Dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts and romaine lettuce are high in folic acid which several studies have show to prevent and even reverse memory loss. (see above)

FIVE: Tea (苦口良药 you don’t have to anderstand what I wrote in chinese)

Tea’s benefits may spring from its healthy combination of anti-oxidants and caffeine. According to a study by the University of Limburg in the Netherlands, “the most important consequence of [caffeine’s] adenosine antagonism … might lead to improvement of higher cognitive functions, particularly memory.” The antioxidants in tea are called polyphenols which have repeatedly been shown to improve cognitive function and memory. Tea also contains a calming amino acid called theanine which helps reduce “the jitters” and keeps the mind relaxed and focused. Perhaps the best news is that tea has up to 10X the polyphenols found in foods like fruits and vegetables. (link)

SIX: Water (WAIT! that’s… err… not food! … But who cares anyway?)

If we are what we eat, then wouldn’t we be what we drink as well? Our bodies are 60% water, and our brain is about 75% water, so it’s obvious that water can impact our health. While there is no research to show that drinking water improves our memory, it has been shown that even a small amount of dehydration leads to confusion and problems with memory. In other words, don’t wait to drink. (link)

Water has an amazing ability to keep the brain in good health and improve its overall functioning. The more you keep your brain hydrated, the better it functions. In cases of dehydration, the brain produces a hormone called cortisol, which affects the brain capability to retain information. (link)

SEVEN: Onions (Yay for big farts and bad breath!)

Onions have a natural flavonoid called fisetin, which helps improve long-term memory. Red onions are better for you than white and yellow onions. Onions also contain quercetin and anthocynanin, which have been shown to improve concentration. Researchers at Hokkaido Tokai University in Japan confirmed that onions, which are rich in sulphur, could help prevent memory loss and actually stimulate your hippocampus. The hippocampus is an important component of the brain which belongs to the limbic system and is a major role player in spatial navigation and long term memory. (link)

NOTE: Eggplants, Broccoli, Grapes, Cherries, Rosemary, Apples, Milk, Black-Eyed Peas, Kidney Beans, Orange Juice, Baked Potato, Bananas, Vegetable Juice, Wheat Germ, Papaya, Tofu, Water, Asparagus, Citrus Fruits, Red Tomato’s, Seeds, Nuts, Liver, Carrots, Green Tea and Bock Choy are also foods that will help in your fight against memory loss.  (link)

Many thanks to: (Bibliography)

  1. http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-foods-that-boost-memory.html
  2. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/18264218/ns/today-today_health/
  3. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=79871
  4. http://www.lifemojo.com/lifestyle/foods-to-boost-memory-4073120
  5. http://www.health-care-information.org/health/memory/foods-for-memory.html
  6. http://memoryimprovementcentral.com/increase-memory/brain-power-foods
  7. http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/5-foods-to-remember-for-better-memory/

This series will also include the following posts! Do check in for them soon 😀

  • Weight loss food
  • cancer prevention food
  • beauty food

and more!

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Mini Coffee Sugar buns

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Mini Coffee Sugar buns (fat free of course)

Ingredients:

70g bread flour

30g cake flour

60g wholewheat flour

30g sugar

3g yeast

2g salt

1 tsp instant coffee granules

1/2 egg

90-100ml warm water

Method

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients and knead into an elastic dough that passes the windowpane test.

Rest the dough with a wet towel covering it for 1 hour.

Shape dough into small balls. Dunk them into a mould/pan

Let rise for 50 minutes. Brush surface of rolls with water.

Sprinkle:

  • some demerara sugar and
  • cinnamon/cocoa powder

over the buns.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celcius for 15 minutes

This post is going to YEASTSPOTTING!!!

Depending on my limited baking skills, you may (or may not) see what’s going to happen to the contents of the box above.

Let’s hope you do…

Single Serving Yeasted Chocolate Cornmeal WW Pancakes

What? Another post?

Yes. Beacause I’ll be on hiatus until next Friday.

I’m having my March Common Tests you see…

I made these for brunch today! Mini Chocolate Cornmeal Whole Wheat pancakes enough to satisfy a furious chocolate craving.

You’ll love it.

Because just like everyone else,

You love chocolate.

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Chocolate Cornmeal Pancakes

No. of servings: 1

Print Friendly and PDF

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp fine yellow cornflour
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4.5 tbsp soya milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp yeast


Directions

  1. Mix all dry ingredients except yeast together
  2. Mix milk, vanilla extract and yeast together and let rest for 10 minutes
  3. Sift dry ingredients into wet ingredient.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients properly
  5. Cook pancakes on a non- stick pan (this makes nicer- looking pancakes)
  6. EAT YOUR PANCAKES

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I’m submitting this to Yeastspotting! Thanks for reading!

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1 Ingredient Chocolate Ice- Cream

Do you like chocolate?

You don’t have to answer.

I know you do.

Liking chocolate isn’t subjective. Its an innate part of human nature. It’s a natural desire.

It’s a food group on its own.

Right below carbohydrate like rice in the food pyramid, where the nutritionists don’t bother showing you because you’re supposed to know it.

Unless you’re allergic to chocolate.

Seriously, that’s sad. I have a friend who’s allergic to chocolate but she says it isn’t sad because ‘you won’t desire something you’ve never tried before’. Oh no. Do try it!

As a kind suggestion, try carob if you have allergies. 😦

You know, adults sometimes have this misconception that little girls prefer strawberry flavoured stuff to chocolate flavoured ones. My brother would get the chocolate biscuits while I would get the strawberry ones. As an (ungrateful) chocolate lover, I would “negotiate” (argue/fight/ask nicely in a pretentious way) with my brother so that he would exchange his chocolate biscuits for my strawberry flavoured ones.

Of course he didn’t agree, although I am very convincing (I once convinced him that our television bills comes with a record of all the TV programmes we’d watched. Yeah he’s darn gullible).

As I said, no one will reject chocolate. Because we are born to eat chocolate.

Okay.

Enough of that crap.

You want Chocolate ice- cream don’t you?

Especially when it’s low- fat, low- calorie, nutritious, healthy… and contribute to your 2-3 servings of fruit (which is, by the way, also near the bottom of the food pyramid) So it is doubly healthy.

Can’t wait?

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients: (2 servings, or one if you really can’t control yourself)

2 large ripe bananas

2 tsp sugar (omit if you don’t have a sweet tooth)

1 tbsp milk/ water

6 tbsp cocoa powder (I use 10… )

Method

  1. Cut your banana into small pieces and freeze for 2 hours.

in a food processor, add all the ingredients

and process until creamy.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM TIME!!!!

How easy can this get?

LOOK HERE!

I’m submitting this to

Aspiring Bakers #5 : Fruity March (March 2011)!!!!

YAY! Thank you Jessica for hosting the event!

A random picture

Sorry. I know its ugly.

Be nice.

Fat- free Curry “Potato Wedges”

Is potato a vegetable?

I seriously have no idea. Its starchy. Vegetables are supposed to have tons of fibre…

Just came back from watching the class of 2010 getting their A level results and it felt so so weird. Imagine. Just that month of you life that you spent taking your A levels determining your entire future! What you’ll spend the rest of your life doing… spending the remainder of your life praying that inflation will stop occuring at breakneck speed, for food prices to please stop rising, worrying for today and tomorrow… or on the other hand, being able to indulge in Starbucks coffee every day, driving a sleek topless car, frequenting restaurants for your every meal. Weird huh? That’s gonna be me next year. Urghh.

Anyway, we had this bag of potatoes from a week ago hanging in the kitchen waiting to be cooked and my mum cut them up and boiled them for who knows who. Obviously I was not going to eat plain boiled potatoes and was not going to let any of my family members eat plain boiled potatoes so I dunked in some curry powder and milk, cooked them for a while, sieved them out onto a tray, sprinkled some salt and baked them at 220 degrees celcius for 35 minutes.

They tasted really really good. Even better than the usual deep fried ones. Yum! Try them too some time!

Ingredients:

3 medium potatoes

1 tbsp curry powder

a dash of milk

salt to taste