Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Brain Food

Last month, my Running Times magazine had this article about foods that help your brain. More specifically, foods that can help your mind overcome fatigue when running (or in any sport); when your body is telling you it wants to stop but you know you can do more. 

Food for Thought - Running Times

Shamelessly stealing this from the Running Times website

It was a really interesting article that made me kind of reevaluate my diet a little. Mainly, because out of all the foods they listed, basically none of them are in my diet on a consistent basis. 

So, one of the first things I did was buy a bag of walnuts. A big bag of walnuts.

Walnuts are said to help with cognitive function because of their high levels of vitamin E and fatty acids. They're also a good source of Omega-3. 

From Running Times: "Research in the Archives of Neurology & Psychiatry suggests that the antioxidant [Vitamin E] can help maintain mental function until the final mile by protecting the brain from oxidative damage. "Blood-boosting fatty acids are prone to oxidation, leaving them ineffective," Ruxton says. "Vitamin E prevents this process." The result is that blood cells carry more nutrients to the brain, improving focus."

I'm all for anything that is going to help improve my cognitive functioning. Who couldn't use a little help there? You'll notice that the bag is over half empty. I've been eating about 10 a day (10 pieces, not always 10 exact walnuts) and while I've not noticed that my IQ has increased at all, walnuts are definitely a better afternoon snack than pretzels or popcorn. 

I've also been trying to eat more avocados, filled with tyrosine which decreases levels of 5-HT neurotransmitter that induces fatigue, and eggs - a good source of DHA which increases concentration and focus. This has not been going so well. I'm not 100% sure that I like avocados at this point. I've tried eating them alone, and mixed in various salads and I'm still not convinced. But I do like guacamole like nobodies business. So that probably counts, right? Eggs are not a favorite of mine either, but I'm trying to eat more of them anyway. 

In general, I'm just trying to be more aware of what I put in my body and to make better choices. There are always going to be days when I eat to my heart's content (like last night when we made tacos), but just making a couple of better choices every day is certainly a start. 

Do you eat avocados? What do you like them in? 

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