Amy Perich is currently studying Bachelor Of Health Science (Clinical Nutrition). Since a very young age, health and fitness has been her passion.
“I am a true believer in nature, and its healing properties, and have experienced this myself – overcoming a health issue which doctors didn’t believe it was possible until I proved them wrong, by doing it my way, natures way.”
Here are 5 brain fuelling foods that Amy uses to improve concentration and beat stress so she can master her studies.
Chocolate lovers rejoice! Cocoa beans are packed with Magnesium, Flavanols and Antioxidants.
Flavanols have been shown to improve cognition by increasing blood flow to the brain. Consuming dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa) has also been linked to increase serotonin and dopamine levels. You can add Cacao into smoothies, hot chocolates, and porridge.
Recipe idea: Choc Peanut butter Smoothie
Ingredients: 1 Frozen Banana, 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter, 1 Tbsp Cacao blended with 1 Cup almond milk & Ice.
For additional bonus: + 1 Scoop Protein powder + 1 Handful baby spinach
Beans are another great food for the brain. They are low in GI and rich in polyphenols, antioxidants, fibre, protein, folate, & B vitamins.
- B Vitamins: help your cells produce energy, also involved in the formation of healthy red blood cells.
- Polyphenols: potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich plant compounds
- Folate: essential for brain function, and folate deficiency can lead to neurological disorders such as depression and cognitive impairment, weakness and fatigue.
- Low GI: slowly digested carb, nutrient-dense starch that provides the brain with its preferred source of fuel (glucose)
Recipe idea: Black Bean Protein Brownies
Ingredients: 1 Egg white, 1 Cup Black beans, 2 Scoops Protein powder, 1 Cup Almond milk, 1 Cup Cocoa/Cacao, 4 Tbsp Honey, 2 Tbsp Peanut butter & 1 Tsp Baking powder.
Preheated at 180º
Mix well, pour into baking tray and cook for around 40 mins/until cooked in the centre (use spatchla to test).
High antioxidant foods help fight oxidative stress (free radicals) in the body. Blueberries provide the brain with a gradual dose of its must-have fuel, glucose, along with a massive hit of powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant pigments called anthocyanins.
Antioxidants can be categorised by two groups:
- Flavonoids; primarily found in plants
- Non-flavonoids include three categories: minerals, plant pigments, and vitamins. Strawberries are incredibly rich in Vitamin C, the primary vitamin antioxidant.
Recipe idea: Antixodant Powerhouse Smoothie Bowl
Ingredients: Frozen blueberries, Frozen Banana, Frozen Acai pack, 200 milliliters Coconut water + Vanilla Protein (vegan or whey) blended with Ice.
Top it with strawberry slices, blueberries, banana, nuts and seeds.
4. Nuts/ Seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in Vitamin E, Omega 3, folate, melatonin and antioxidants, helping longer lasting fuel to the brain. Each nut has unique benefits.
- Walnuts: high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that improve mental alertness. Vitamin E. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which is the plant version of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Almonds: Vitamin E (another type of antioxidant)
- Pepitas/ Pumpkin Seeds: rich in the mineral zinc, which has a range of anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial for energy production, cognition, and sleep. Zinc also helps regulate dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter that gives you mental drive and motivation.
- Chia Seeds: omega-3 ALA which your brain uses to make DHA fatty acids, a complete protein full of the nine essential amino acids needed to keep your mood stable, full of antioxidants & Low GI.
Recipe idea: Crunchy Granola
1 Cup raw Mixed Nuts
1 Cup mixed seeds (pepitas, sunflower, chia, sesame etc)
1/2 Cup of dessicated coconut
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey (any sticky sweetener)
1 Tbsp Cinnamon & Nutmeg
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, preheat the oven to 170º fan forced. Melt together coconut oil and honey, mix well, and slowly pour over dry ingredients so it is evenly mixed. Line a baking tray with baking paper, and spread mixture so it is flat. Bake until golden. Let it cool completely before storing/ eating.
5. Dark Leafy Greens
Vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard, and romaine lettuce are rich in antioxidants and B vitamins that are important for brain development and help protect against brain degeneration.
Kale is rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, and sulphorophane, three antioxidants that influence genes that activate protective and detoxifying enzymes. Kale also contains magnesium supporting cognition, memory, and relaxation., enzymes that use and produce ATP, your brain cell’s primary energy currency.
Recipe idea: Kale Chips
Ingredients: kale and coconut oil
Rinse and chop kale. Massage coconut oil (another brain booster!) to soften the kale. Season with any spices, or keep it simple with Himalayan salt. Then pan fry, or bake in oven on medium heat. Toss until desired crisp – voila!
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