Into smoothies and protein shakes? So am I! When I started to do my first couple smoothies, I wasn’t exactly sure how to start. I have always been one to do a traditional protein shake consisting of a scoop of protein and milk. So when I tried to wrap my head around putting spinach in that, the thought wasn’t making me jump with joy at first.
My mom and dad got me a ninja blender for smoothies a couple Christmas’ ago and that’s where I started to learn more about it. I tried a bunch of fruit and handful of greens in the first smoothie. I was so excited that I forgot to add any milk or water. Rookie mistake, I know. As I took my 1st sip and spit it all back out, I decided at that moment to learn more about the art of making a smoothie.
I tried a lot of different recipes and tried my own. Be ready for a bunch of failures if you try it yourself. Nothing wrong with it, don’t get discouraged at first. Just takes some time to learn how to properly mix up a solid smoothie.
As you start to get it all down, you can really spice it up with different ingredients.
I was looking through my social media feed today and saw a post from Precision Nutrition and loved it enough to want to share with you today! It was perfect for this article and really adds a visual to help you out!
One of my favorite ones to do is almond milk, chocolate protein powder, spinach, banana and peanut butter.
This post is from @precisionnutrition I love their content for nutrition 🥦
What’s a shake recipe you are thinking of trying out?
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With finals coming up for all of my students out there, studying can get exhausting and tiring. One big thing you can do to help is focus on your health, especially what you’re eating.
I want to give you some foods you can try to throw into your diet to help increase your memory!
Broccoli is known for its health benefits and one of the most popular veggies among the rest. It is high in vitamin K which has been revealed in a couple studies to be linked to an increase in memory. However this study was conducted on 320 conductees that were between 70-85 years old that had no cognitive impairment. I believe it is safe to say if you don’t completely get the memory benefits, it will be very beneficial in other areas of your health!
#2 Pumpkin seeds
I went through very bad anxiety/panic attacks consistently a couple years ago until I read more on the nutrition aspect of the mental health industry. I found that magnesium can help immensely with your brain function which in turn can help with things such as anxiety and depression. I recently found that magnesium can be essential for your memory and learning!
With Pumpkin seeds being high in magnesium, they make a super simple snack to incorporate, especially during finals week!
Time to break out the spinach like Pop-Eye. Spinach is very high in vitamin k and in magnesium. Based off of what we have learned so far, that is a good sign. Start throwing in some more salads or throw some spinach in with a meal. This is a food that will help in more ways than one!
No surprise, avocados are in most top food list due to numerous health benefits they offer. Avocados are high in vitamin k and folate. These two nutrients combined with the mono-saturated fat content can decrease chances of stroke because it can help reduce the chances of blood clots. Avocados can also help with memory and concentration which is what we like to hear! Hit up my easy guacomole recipe!
#5 Fatty Fish
With the brain being comprised of about 60% of fat (mainly omega -3), it makes sense that this would be a good one to add to the list. If you look closely, most of this list is made up of healthy fats.
A study found that regularly eating fish that was baked or broiled could increase grey matter in the brain. Grey matter holds the nerve cells that make decisions, memories and control your emotions. Some of the best options you can get are salmon, tuna, trout and sardines.
Berries are something you can throw in with cereal, yogurt, smoothies and shakes or just have as a snack. This makes it super easy to add them in immediately.
A study says that “the berry fruit may exert their effects directly through alterations in cell signaling to improve/increase neuronal communication, calcium buffering, neuroprotective stress shock proteins, plasticity, antioxidant/anti-inflammatory action, stress signaling pathways and inhibition of acetylcholinesterase.“
So in other words, berries are high in antioxidants, improve neuron communication in the cell, increases the plasticity, which will help brain cells form new connections promoting learning and memory enhancement. This same study also mentions that more clinical trials need to be done to see the effects of berries on therapeutic agents for brain-related diseases.
A good example of berries to go for regarding this article suggest blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.
Every nut is a powerhouse of nutrients but nothing compares to the walnut on the charts in this study. Walnuts are a great source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), the plant form of omega-3 fats. They had a count of 2.5 grams compared to the others such as pecans which was the closest having 0.5 grams, then followed by peanuts, almonds and pistachios which all come in at 0 grams. I have a chart below I used to show you a visual of this.
There was an interesting study showing that an increase consumption of walnuts showed a significant increase in reaction time, learning, and memory recall compared to those who did not eat them. The study was done with conductees that were the ages of 20-90 years old and they saw an increase all across the board no matter what gender you are or the age. So I would go out and start looking for walnuts for better brain function!
#8 Olive Oil
There is always a lot of controversial conversations surrounding olive oil. “It’s the healthiest thing for you”, “it’s bad news”. Here’s the thing, no matter what in my opinion, we can’t deny how olive oil is better that some other choices out there for you. I have read articles claiming both health benefits and no health benefits. It gets even more confusing when you start reading into studies.
Olive oil is high in vitamin K and E, paired with being a monounsaturated fat, we have a formula for something here that could improve brain performance based off of what we read today so far.
An article I read explains that diets such as the Mediterranean diet higher in olive oil can reduce chances of Alzheimer’s up to 40%. The MIND diet has the ability to reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s more than 50%. If you are a younger adult this may not interest you as much as an older or even mid aged adult. This is still a very important topic because it can decrease chances so it may not be a bad idea to look more into this topic especially if Alzheimer’s runs in your family.
The other benefit I enjoy about olive oil is that it is pretty easy to incorporate into a diet. You can use it for cooking which makes it easy to get more olive oil into your diet. One more remark I would like to add on olive oil is that although I use it in my diet, I try not to overdue it when I use it, as many vitamins out there, too much may be as bad as too little.
In conclusion I believe that healthy fats can definitely play a role in our brain function as well as other nuts, berries and seeds. There are more things out there, I just researched many articles and studies to see which ones came up the most and why. It is a good idea to eat healthy not only for your future self and body but you should also do so because it can help increase performance mentally as well as physically.
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Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before using anything on this article. I am not a registered dietitian and although I researched and used scientific studies in a lot of the material here, your health history or medical stand point may need assistance of other foods, vitamins or supplements so check in with your doctor / physician before making any drastic changes in your diet. Thank you.