Six Foods to Improve Memory & Concentration

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6 Foods to Improve Memory & Concentration
CUREJOY EDITORIAL AUG 24, 2017

Foods to Improve Memory & Concentration
•Coffee
•Chocolate
•Tea
•Blueberries
•Flaxseed oil

Did you know that the foods you eat can help you concentrate and get things done? Caffeine present in coffee, flavonoids in chocolate, and the amino acid L-theanine in tea can sharpen your focus – provided you get these in moderate amounts. Having blueberries or taking flaxseed oil can also be useful. Meanwhile, seafood is rich in iron, which is important not only for improving attention but also memory and learning.

Do you find that your attention drifts off every once in a while? The ability to concentrate, focus, and stay on task is important for accomplishing anything. And when you consider cognitive functioning, the ability to pay attention and stay focused is the “gateway” to other cognitive functions – if you can’t pay attention to something, you can’t understand, learn, or remember it.

As we grow and develop, our ability to concentrate also improves. For instance, 6-year-olds can focus on a task for only about 15 minutes but by the time they are 9 years, they should be able to stay focused for around an hour. But if this is the case, why is it that we find our ability to focus floundering quite often? We find it difficult to concentrate for many reasons, including our interest in the task at hand, our physical and emotional state, our environment, our neuropsychological mapping, and our skill level vis-a-vis the task. A variety of physical and psychological factors can help enhance this ability – food is one such factor.

Foods To Improve Memory And Concentration

To improve your power of concentration, try these foods out.
1. Coffee

Many of us start our day with a cup of coffee. And there’s a good reason why coffee works so well as an eye opener – caffeine! Consuming caffeine in moderate amounts can not only improve your ability to focus and concentrate, it can also make you feel more energetic and alert, quicken your reactions, increase accuracy, improve short-term memory, and increase your problem-solving abilities.

But do keep in mind that the key word here is “moderate.” Too much coffee can leave you feeling jittery. It’s not a good idea to have more than 400 mg of caffeine in a day. An 8-ounce cup of coffee contains around 95 to 200 mg, so no more than 2–3 cups a day. Experts also suggest that pregnant women should either avoid caffeine or limit their consumption to 300 mg in a day.

2. Chocolate

Yummy chocolate can also help improve attention and concentration. This is because cocoa beans are a rich source of flavonoids, particularly epicatechin and catechin which have antioxidant properties. Cocoa also contains caffeine. And according to research, cocoa can improve attentiveness as well as mood. So bite into a delicious dark chocolate bar or have an antioxidant-rich cocoa drink when you feel mentally fatigued and distracted.

3. Tea

Tea is said to the most commonly consumed beverage after water. Like cocoa, it is a great source of flavonoid antioxidants. Tea also contains the beneficial amino acid L-theanine, which can modulate certain aspects of brain function. Studies have shown that L-theanine significantly increases brain activity in the alpha frequency band. This means it can relax you without making you feel drowsy, promote mental alertness, and improve attention. No wonder Buddhist monks commonly use tea to help sustain attention over long periods of meditation. You too can try a cup of tea when you find that your focus is fading. But then again, no going overboard. Limit to 2–3 cups a day.

4. Blueberries

Blueberries are another food that can be beneficial for your brain. Researchers have found that sustained attention improves after having a blueberry drink. But blueberries don’t just help you concentrate, they may improve your memory too. Research suggests that the neural circuitry involved in sustaining attention is enhanced by flavonoids present in blueberry may be responsible for these beneficial effects.

5. Seafood

Iron is a particularly important mineral for your brain. It plays a role in making dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is not only involved in attention but also memory, learning, stress responsivity, and hormonal regulation. Studies have found that when iron-deficient women were supplemented with iron, their cognitive performance as well as performance accuracy improved.

Crabs, oysters, clams, and fish are all rich sources of iron. If you’re a vegetarian, lentils, kidney beans, raisins, and green leafy vegetables like spinach work well too. And do keep in mind that your body is able to absorb iron from plant sources better when accompanied by foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and sweet peppers that contain vitamin C.

Adult men need about 8 mg of iron per day while adult women need about 18 mg per day. About 45 mg of iron per day is the upper limit that can be safely consumed. Excessive amounts of this mineral can be harmful, so do run it by your doctor before taking supplements.

6. Flaxseed Oil

Flax seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega 3 fatty acid. This essential fatty acid cannot be synthesized by the human body and has to be supplemented through diet. It is well known that alpha-linolenic acid is beneficial for your heart, but did you know it’s important for your brain too? One study found that when children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were supplemented with flaxseed oil and antioxidants in the form of vitamin C they were benefited. And symptoms like inattention, impulsivity, restless, and self-control were improved.

But do keep in mind that it’s best to avoid flaxseed oil while pregnant or breastfeeding as it can have hormonal effects.

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Banana Sushi

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Fight For It - Silver Linings

Oh. My. Yummy.

Banana sushi is AMAZING! Now, I added pistachios to it because I THOUGHT hubs would be eating it too. I CAN’T eat a bunch of nuts! Anyway, you should ABSOLUTELY try this!  Here is the recipe of what I used:

1 banana

Almond butter

Cinnamon

Pistachios

I peeled the banana, spread almond butter on one side of the banana, sprinkled with cinnamon, & topped with nuts.

It was SO GOOD! If you try it out, let me know your thoughts!

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Frozen Daiquiri Fishbowl

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Frozen Daiquiri Fishbowl

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2 c. frozen strawberries
1/2 c. white rum
1/2 c. vanilla syrup
Blend
Pour into fish bowl
4 c. frozen pineapple
2 c. coconut rum
2 c. ice
1 c. pineapple juice
Blend
Pour over strawberry mixture

Ta-da!

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Tough People

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“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”—Robert H. Schuller

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”—Confucius

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Holy Basil

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Benefits Of Holy Basil For Stress, Anxiety & Insomnia

By: Connie Trowbridge

Holy basil is an adaptogenic herb that brings the endocrine and hormone system back to balance. People with a high caffeine intake, who are always anxious and stressed out, have trouble shutting off their brain at night, have insomnia or keep waking up often throughout the night should take Holy Basil supplements. It brings down cortisol levels and reverses adrenal fatigue.

Do not be confused with the basil you grow in your garden and top off your pasta with, holy basil is actually the most revered of all the ayurvedic herbs. Also known as Tulsi, holy basil has been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine to lower elevated cortisol, regulate blood sugar, ease anxiety, lower stress levels, and help you fall asleep.

Ayurveda & It’s Importance In Modern Lifestyle

Ayurvedic medicines also known as Ayurveda (Sanskrit term that means “the science of life” or “life knowledge”) is a system that originated in northern India over 5000 years ago, and is one of the world’s oldest holistic (whole-body) healing systems. It is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.

Because of the crazy, high-paced, demanding and at times, overwhelming world most of us live in, holy basil is needed now more than ever. In today’s world, people are working more and relaxing less. They are compromising sleep in order to feel the satisfaction of crossing out more things on their to-do list.

This contributes to feeling like crap, constantly being stressed out, being plagued by anxiety, unable to shut off our brain at night, snapping at everyone and just constantly feeling on the fritz!

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What Is Holy Basil?

Holy basil is in the mint family and it’s Latin name is Ocimum sanctum. Holy basil is known in natural medicine as an adaptogenic herb. These types of adaptogenic herbs, work with your endocrine and hormone system to bring you back to balance.

So, when you are having a stressed out day, and you are taking holy basil, it is actually helping your body to better adapt to the stress you are experiencing, and help you function as optimally as possible during that stressful time.

Who Should Take Holy Basil?

If you are someone who:

Drinks a lot of coffee or has a high caffeine intake.Is highly active and works out a lot.Is a high anxiety person.Feels stressed out all the time.Is a worrywart.Has trouble shutting off your brain at night.Has insomnia, trouble sleeping or wake up often throughout the night.Has elevated cortisol levels.Has adrenal fatigue.

Then, this herb will do wonders for you!

What Are The Health Benefits Of Holy Basil?

For those of you who don’t know, according to Medline Plus: “The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that you can not live without, including sex hormones and cortisol. Cortisol helps you respond to stress and has many other important functions. With adrenal gland disorders, your glands make too much or not enough hormones.”

When you get stressed out, your body releases too much cortisol. Since, we register stress from all things such as a work deadline, a hard and long workout, a relationship, sitting in traffic, watching TV, eating sugar, drinking coffee, etc. your body is constantly releasing excess cortisol. This cortisol interferes with the other hormones you have, and you wind up with a hormonal imbalance.

The more cortisol you have, the more stress your adrenal glands begin to experience. In simple words, if you are stressing out (remember, there are many types of stress) then your adrenal glands are spewing out that cortisol over and over again, and you end up having some sort of hormonal imbalance.

Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance

Your hormonal imbalance may manifest as:

Lack of sleep.
Excess belly fat & weight gain.
Feeling tired even when you get a full night’s sleep, or have trouble getting out of bed.
You get sick easily.
You have PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) or PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
You crave unhealthy foods like sugar, carbs, and caffeine.
Your sex drive is in the crapper.
You have gut problems such as nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or constipation.
You feel anxious often.
You feel sad, blue and slightly depressed.
You have to pee a lot.
You are moody and irritable.
Your hands and feet feel excessively cold during the day.
You get muscle cramps.

So, to wrap this up, it is very important for your overall well-being for you to manage and eliminate your many forms of stress and their triggers. One way you can do this is with Holy Basil.

Recommended Dosage Of Holy Basil

There are a few forms of holy basil out there, such as supplement and tea form. I myself love the supplement form and feel the effects of it within 20 or so minutes. Jim Nicolai, MD, Medical Director of the Andrew Weil, MD, Integrative Wellness Program at Miraval in Tucson recommends 1-2 capsules in the early evening.

I don’t know about you, but I get stressed out easily in the winter. The gray days, cold weather, lack of sunshine and fresh air, can get me kind of cranky and depressed. Holy basil is a must for me during the winter season.

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