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Food and Ingredients News

Coffee good for the brain? I ought to be the next Einstein!

Good day, guys and girls. Thanks for rejoining us for this second exploratory post into the top ten brain foods as advised by The Cooking Academy. If you missed the first three choice ingredients in the list, you can find them on yesterday’s post, Foods that are naturally healthy for body, mind and soul, where we marvelled at how ingredients classed as healthy options for the body are also believed to have potent mind-boosting powers, too.

So, in total contrast, let’s start today with number four in the Cooking Academy’s list, and an inclusion that should make me the brightest spark against the night sky if its power is increment by volume, coffee! In fact, I know a few myth-shattering facts about their number four item so I’ll not wax lyrical about coffee here; we’ll save the detail for a future article. Suffice to know that its inclusion in the list, in its purest, served form, is based on its antioxidant qualities and ability to stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia. Ah, “in moderation”, it says. Boooooo!

5. Nuts! Another ingredient utilised positively by both body and mind. Ever feel relaxed when you sniff almonds? That’s because the neurotransmitters therein elevate your mood. Walnuts are a great food if you’re peckish before bedtime as they help with insomnia and many nuts, including the bog-standard peanut, include nutrients that boost mental clarity; the vast majority also contain healthy, natural fats in their oils, prolifically Omega 3.
6. Avocados – a fruit that has long been steered away from by dieters (in error) is good for the blood, believed to help reduce pressure and increase the flow to the brain, improving its function. The healthy fats in avocados are an ideal substitute for saturates in a calorie controlled diet, too.
7. Eggs – another much-maligned product and, whether your looking to lose weight through diet and training or want a sharper mind, eggs fit the bill. The choline therein is associate with the building blocks of memory function whilst the protein and healthy fats are the basis of building and protecting healthy muscle tissue. Boiled or poached eggs will not, as urban myth has it, rocket your cholesterol; even at two a day, the effect of their nutritious content can help balance your body’s relative levels.
8. Whole grain – mm, the jury’s out on this one as far as dieting goes, but I’m totally in favour of it, for reasons other than content. In the context of the brain, they contribute massively to a healthy circulation. Some nutritionists may warn against wholegrain bread as part of a heavy resistance training diet but, for me at least, the benefits the grain give as an intestinal hoover due to their high-fibre content far outweigh the reasons some trainers give for not incorporating it. The grains are also a source of healthy, natural fats you can include in your diet without necessarily having to think to hard about it.
9. Chocolate – okay, here’s the second and final item on the list that you wouldn’t find on a dieter’s main menu, the darker the better, up to the point where it gets too bitter. Above 70% for me and it’s pushing it, but the Cooking Academy’s author prefers 85% cocoa – ugh, that makes me shudder. But, dark/plain chocolate (again in moderation) contains high concentrations of antioxidants and has been proven to target focus – perfect for the freelance writer who may get distracted by World Golf Tour or his e-mail, for instance…time to visit Hotel Chocolat again, methinks. Milk chocolate, surprisingly, has benefits too, cutting down reaction time as well as improving memory function.
10. And finally, Broccoli. One of the great Superfoods and, in my humble opinion, second in the all-time list behind only blueberries. It helps improve memory, is saturated with vitamins, helps reduce the ageing process and also helps improve memory. Mm, quite.

So, thanks to Kumud Ghandi who originally complied this list for The Cooking Academy and I hope you’ve enjoyed my expansion on the original theme, incorporating snippets on the bodily benefits as well as the brain power you’ll now exhibit by incorporating these ingredients into your diet – even if it’s not a healthy one, by inclusion of these natural food stuffs, you may well turn a corner there, too.

Some of the ingredients may not be the easiest to incorporate into the weekly cook/shop – why not check out our hand-picked cookery courses to see if those courses we are rating as offering the best value at your time of reading this (we do acid-test them, so the individual cookery schools we feature often rotate) offer a nutrition/healthy cookery class you can draw upon for inspiration?

Got a comment? We’d love to hear from you.

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Food and Ingredients News

Foods that are naturally healthy for body, mind and soul

Readers and followers of cookerycourses.co.uk over the last year will have picked up little hints and tips that, as much as we cover food in general on this website, my heart beats with a passion for healthy eating.

I’m not talking processed ready meals to fit nicely into a points program to reduce/maintain weight – if that’s your idea of how to cook healthy and nutritious food, then me and you need to have a little chat. I’m talking about taking nature’s own goodness and deriving nutrition out body can actually do something proactive with. Not just satisfy a hunger, but develop your body the way nature intended us to be.

One of the key factors to being able to lose weight and keep it off is having a mind capable of dealing with the fact that, in order to be your best you have (probably) got to go through a life-changing process. Where many people fail is that there is not focused enough to determine the truth in that or retain the will power to help realise any targets, dreams and goals you set yourself to become a healthier, slimmer more active and attractive person.

Whilst there is a profusion of differing ways purported to help your body online, there’s a lot less about how we can fuel our mind to make it perform at it’s sharpest. So, today and tomorrow, we’re going to look at just that based upon an article in The Cooking Academy this weekend entitled Top 10 Brain Foods.

1. Blueberries – this little star deserves a medal! Not only is it one of many a fitness trainers’ recommended Superfoods, now it’s being recognised as a key ingredient to help with cognitive performance. It’s widespread mind-issue tackling functions and ability to burn more calories than are included in its indigo, squishy body are not the only powers the blueberry has, either. According to it, it can help reduce the impact of free radicals through its high antioxidant content and can help reduce the signs of ageing. No wonder they’re about a pound for a vacuum pack of ten in the supermarket!
2. Salmon – it’s amazing how many of the foods commonly accepted to help the body reach its optimum are also accredited with helping your brain do the same. Whilst tuna is high in essential Omega-3 too, the helpful oil found in salmon is a much purer derivative. Both contain high levels of protein, too and, according this new research salmon promotes the growth of healthy brain tissue as well as staving off many of the symptoms and causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Linseed – these little seed pellets are dense with ALA and, when released, the healthy fat boosts performance of the cerebral cortex. This particular segment of our cerebrum is responsible for sensitivity and touch and without its function, sight, smell, sound and nervous reaction would be severely dampened. Linseed is also extremely helpful in weightloss, helping to keep the intestinal tract clean, allowing you to derive the maximum amount of nutrition from the food you eat, staving off starvation that little bit longer.

Okay, those are three good starters, beneficial to both body and mind. And, of course, for your ever-loving soul, if you share this knowledge with friends, family and anyone who you think could benefit from a change in their diet.  Join me tomorrow when we’ll look at the final seven selections and how they can bring us to the peak of physical and mental conditioning.

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