YMCA Healthy Living Magazine YMCA summer 2020-21 - Page 9

Dark green vegetables
‘ Eat your greens ’ may be the lament of every parent , but it ’ s for good reason . Green vegetables such as broccoli , spinach and silverbeet are all packed with antioxidants and vitamins such as Vitamin K , folate and lutein . We don ’ t exactly know why , but studies have shown these nutrients are important for cognitive function . Green leafy vegetables also contain iron , which carries oxygen around the body – essential for the brain . So remember to throw some greens into your sandwich , with your eggs and in your soup .
A nut that looks like a brain must be good for our brain ! Walnuts are one of the few plant sources of the omega 3 fat EPA , which is beneficial for brain development and cognitive function . They are also high in zinc , which is essential for brain function . Cells in the brain , called neurons , talk to each other by releasing chemicals known as neurotransmitters , which helps the brain form ideas quickly . To occur , this process needs zinc .
Try these brain food ideas :
} Eggs on wholegrain toast with spinach for breakfast . } Porridge with walnuts and chia seeds . } Scrambled eggs with pan-fried brussells sprouts and walnuts . } Tuna , lettuce and salad on a wholegrain wrap for lunch . } A handful of nuts for an afternoon snack . } Salmon patties with a green leafy salad , chopped walnuts and a wholegrain bread roll . } Wholegrain pasta with smoked trout , asparagus and extra virgin olive oil . } Brown rice with salmon and broccoli or silverbeet for the evening meal .
We often think of wholegrains for their fibre and benefits on bowel regularity . However , wholegrains are more than just fibre ; they contain many valuable vitamins and minerals , including iron . Iron carries oxygen around the body , and to the brain as well .
Some of the fibre from wholegrains is fermented in the large bowel , which produces short chain fatty acids and gases that influence metabolism and the production of hormones such as serotonin . Serotonin , known as the ‘ happy hormone ,’ influences our mood , which in turn affects our brain function .
Choosing wholegrains two thirds or more of the time leaves a little room for the fluffy white roll . Try simple swaps such as changing from low fibre cereal to oats or other high fibre breakfast cereals , white bread to wholegrain , white rice to brown , and plain to wholemeal flour for baking .
The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council recommends three servings of wholegrains a day , which is easy to achieve when one serve can be :
1 . one-quarter cup of cooked grain ( such as brown rice ) 2 . one slice of wholegrain bread 3 . one third of a cup of cooked oats .
Brain food ideas
Many health issues affect the brain including migraines and headaches . Around 4.9 million Australians suffer from migraines !
By eating a healthy diet , we can help look after our brains . Our brains benefit from a variety of foods , including plenty of plant-derived foods , and dark chocolate as well ! With a little planning , we can incorporate at least five of the foods listed below into our daily diets . View references here .