How Much Should A 4-Week-Old Eat Per Feeding How to Improve Your Memory Through the Best Brain Food

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How to Improve Your Memory Through the Best Brain Food

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when it comes to the brain, scientists have discovered that this old adage is simply not true. The human brain has an amazing ability to adapt and change—even in old age. This ability is known as “neuroplasticity”. With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, change existing connections, and adapt and react in ever-changing ways.

The brain’s incredible ability to retrain itself is true when it comes to learning and memory. You can harness the natural power of neuroplasticity to increase your mental capacity, improve your ability to learn new information, and improve your memory at any age.

Just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide many health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. For brain health, though, it’s not just what you eat—it’s also what you don’t eat. These nutritional tips will help strengthen your brain and reduce your risk of dementia:

Get your Omega-3s – Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for brain health. Fish is a particularly rich source of omega-3, especially cold water “fatty fish” such as salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring.

If you’re not a fan of seafood, consider non-fish sources of omega-3s such as walnuts, ground flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, winter squash, kidney and pinto beans, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans.

Limit calories and saturated fat – Research shows that diets high in saturated fat (from sources such as red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, cream, and ice cream) increase your risk of dementia and affect concentration and memory.

Eat more fruits and vegetables – Products loaded with antioxidants, substances that protect your brain cells from damage. Colorful fruits and vegetables are particularly good sources of “superfood” antioxidants.

Drink Green Tea – Green tea contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells. Among many other benefits, regular consumption of green tea can improve memory and mental alertness and slow brain aging.

Drink wine (or grape juice) in moderation – Keeping your alcohol intake in check is key, since alcohol kills brain cells. But in moderation (about 1 glass a day for women; 2 for men), alcohol can actually improve memory and cognition. Red wine appears to be the best option, because it is rich in resveratrol, a flavonoid that strengthens blood flow to the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Other resveratrol-packed options include grape juice, cranberry juice, fresh grapes and berries, and peanuts.

For mental energy, choose complex carbohydrates – Just like a racing car needs fuel, your brain needs fuel to perform at its best. When you need to be at the top of your mental game, carbohydrates can keep you going. But the type of carbs you choose makes all the difference. Carbohydrates fuel your brain, but simple carbs (sugar, white bread, refined grains) provide a quick boost followed by an equally quick crash. There is also evidence to suggest that diets high in simple carbohydrates may significantly increase the risk of cognitive impairment in older adults. For healthy, long-lasting energy, choose complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, high-fiber cereals, lentils and whole beans. Avoid processed foods and limit starches (potatoes, pasta, rice) to no more than a quarter of your plate.

When you think of food, you probably think of this four-letter word: DIET. Or maybe you think of fuel for your body… Or a source of happiness (or frustration!) in your life. What you probably don’t think about is a powerful influence that affects your emotions, your personality, the quality and quantity of your memories, and even WHO you are as a person. But surprise: What you eat directly affects all of the above. This may seem hard to believe, but it is true. Let me explain…

Your brain: A calorie-hungry machine

Your brain represents only 2 – 4% of your total body mass, which is about 2 – 4 pounds for the average person. However, your brain also consumes about 20% of all the energy from your food. I’ll say it again: your brain consumes 20% of the food energy you consume. In addition, the type of fuel you feed your brain through food and supplements has a critical influence on how you think, feel and experience life. You—and all of your human experience—actually ARE what you eat. As Dr. Fotuhi said: “What you eat will re-shape your brain…for better or for worse”. So, once again, we need to put our brains first when it comes to improving our health and happiness.

What Nutrients Does My Brain Need… And How Much? There are certain nutrients your brain absolutely needs, some you can consume in higher doses to increase performance… and some nutrients your body absolutely does not want. Let’s start with what your brain absolutely needs every day: fuel. To function properly and constantly repair cells, your brain needs the energy you get from food. This is a no-brainer (ha ha, pun intended). However, if you go on an extreme calorie restriction diet, you’re not only restricting the fuel you’re giving your body – you’re also restricting the fuel you’re giving your brain. Why is this dangerous? While your intentions may be in the right place, you may be effectively starving your brain, leading to brain fog, mood swings, anxiety, slower and more difficult learning, feeling unmotivated, etc. And more dangerous, malnutrition over extended periods can be the same. physically shrink your brain. Calorie restriction diets are NOT the way to go.

Let’s say you are on a strict calorie restriction diet that limits you to 70% of the actual caloric fuel your (and your brain) needs on an average day. That means you’re not getting 30% of the vitamins, minerals and energy you need just to function at baseline…which equates to about 6% direct malnutrition in your brain.

Starving your brain makes you angry, short-tempered, dull and emotional. And frankly, it never gets you to your goal. Do you know where the will comes from wood and a healthy practice? It comes from feeding your brain the right fuel in the right amount to stay strong.

I want to focus for a moment on one particular deadly killer of your brain: Sugar. WebMD even asks the question: “Is sugar worse for you than say, cocaine?” When up to 80% of all the food we can buy in a supermarket contains sugar, it can feel like a losing battle.

Not only sugar is proven to be very addictive-that is, the more you eat, the more you want to eat-we will find that over time, sugar can contribute to the shrinking of your hippocampus (the memory sector of your brain), which is a characteristic symptom of memory problems.

How does sugar affect your memory? Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that sugar forms free radicals in the brain and compromises the ability of nerve cells to communicate. This can have serious consequences for how we remember instructions, process ideas, and manage our moods, says Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, Ph.D., author of the UCLA study. In the short term, you’ve probably seen how sugar can mess with your emotions and raise adrenaline, aka: the stress hormone. So something to consider: your memory problems may not be related to age. It could be what you are eating. What happens when you eat sugar?

When you eat sugar, your insulin increases, which temporarily increases your dopamine levels. (Think of dopamine as the “happy chemical.”) For a short period, you feel happy and energized… maybe a little hyper.

But this high quickly wears off (ie NOT a stable source of energy), and eventually you come crashing down. This familiar “sugar crash” produces the stress chemical adrenaline, which can make you feel anxious, moody, tired and even depressed afterwards.

The USDA recommends staying under 10 teaspoons (40 grams) of added sugar a day. That’s about the equivalent of a bagel or a cup of your typical low-fat yogurt—which tends to be surprisingly high in sugar. (Check the yogurt label in your fridge and see what I mean.) Now don’t worry: This daily sugar limit doesn’t include the natural sugars of fruits and vegetables in their pure form like an apple. But avoid those mocha lattes at all costs.

Personally, I think sugar is the real reason gluten-free diets tend to work so well for so many people in terms of improving overall body and brain health. Not because they are removing the gluten. (Only 1% of the population has celiac disease, in which case the body cannot tolerate gluten). I believe it’s because most gluten-containing foods also contain a lot of added sugar: Bread, baked goods, etc. Removing sugar alone can have a massive impact on your mood, memory and clarity of thought.

We also know though many studies that obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes can shrink the size and performance of your brain. So if you want to reduce your risk of memory loss, the first and fastest thing you can do is educate yourself about brain-healthy foods vs. brain-depleting foods — and immediately remove the harmful foods from your diet.

What is the worst food for your memory and cognition?

Salt can be a big culprit, especially due to excess. Salt is an essential mineral we need to survive, however the USDA recommendation is just 1,500 mg a day. The average American eats 3,400 mg/day, mainly because our culture tends to consume a lot of processed and packaged foods. These are the worst when it comes to unknowingly consuming very unhealthy doses of salt-which by the way, also increases your risk of stroke.

Trans fats are also harmful to brain health. Typical trans fats are commonly found in fried foods, margarine, shortening, non-dairy creamers, ice cream, cake mixes, microwave popcorn, ground beef, frozen dinners, cookies and crackers.

Best food for your brain

To boost your memory, mood and cognition, you want to focus on a “brain healthy” diet. This involves eating foods that support the growth of new brain cells, as well as taking a high-quality daily supplement with the right amount of specific nutrients, giving your brain the building blocks it needs to stay sharp. One of these nutrients is called DHA, found in Omega 3 fatty acids, which helps reduce inflammation in the brain. Many researchers have found that people with behavioral problems, children with ADHD and people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have lower than normal DHA levels.

For example, in Gothenburg, Sweden, scientists conducted a study of more than 9,000 students. They found that children who ate one serving of fish per week (a great source of DHA) did 15% better than students who ate less than one serving of fish per week. I recommend you aim for 1,000 mg of DHA daily through your food and/or supplements.

Best diet for memory and learning

As an overall eating style loaded with brain-healthy foods, most scientists recommend the Mediterranean diet as a good plan to provide your body and brain with the highest quality food, even if you’re trying to lose weight. For more tips, I also recommend following trusted food gurus like Mike Geary, aka: “The Nutrition Watchdog.” Need motivation? Here’s a fun fact for you: People who follow a healthy diet and exercise have a 65% LOWER chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

Here’s a great list of delicious brain-healthy foods: Olive oil, Garlic, Beans, Blueberries, Green Tea, Kale, nuts and seeds, Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, tomatoes, Pumpkin seeds, Coriander, Broccoli, sage, eggs.

All these foods are good for children and adults; to study, improve memory, and just feel great all-around.

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