Back to school brain foods

back-to-school

Almost September again and that means back to school and more routine schedules for most of us. Its a great time to make some wise decisions about what we can be eating to get those brains back into study habit mode. A well nourished brain will grasp information more quickly and retain it longer. Every student I’ve ever known is very interested in getting an edge on enhancing memory.

One of the most important things we can do for brain function is to stay well hydrated. Of course, the absolute best way to stay hydrated is with pure, filtered water. The goal is to drink one half of your weight in pounds in ounces of water everyday. That means a 150 pound person should have a goal to drink about 75 ounces of water a day. A big advantage is the fact that water has zero calories, so you stay hydrated without adding any weight gain risk. Adding a slice of lemon or lime to water can add a pleasant flavor and make water drinking even more enjoyable.

Avoiding energy drinks is also very important since they often contain a lot of sugar and calories. They can also contain dangerous excitotoxins, which may give you a sharp energy spike which is followed by a crash which is just as sharp Many energy drinks are simply loaded with high fructose corn syrup which is also to be avoided. One way I have found that is very effective to get my kids to drink more water is keeping bottles of water out on the counter for a convenient thirst quencher and ready to grab on the way out the door for later. Kids drink water for the same reason we climb mountains, because its there! Lets make sure water is always there for a wise and easy choice.

Back to school time is also a great time to stock the refrigerator and pantry with brain smart foods. B vitamins are extremely important for brain function. Choosing 100% whole grain breads, cereals and even pastas will increase your intake of these important vitamins. Sunflower seeds, the major ingredient in our INBars by the way, are one of the highest food sources for what is probably the most important B vitamin for the brain, B1 or thiamine. Nuts are also great choices. The almond probably has the best nutrient, fat and protein profile.

The solid portion of the brain itself is made mostly of fat. Not just any fat will do however. Dangerous trans fats found in fried foods, many baked goods and margarine are to be avoided at all cost. The healthiest sources of fat are foods like salmon, tuna, avocados, walnuts and once again almonds. Sunflower seeds, another reason to eat your INBars, and flaxseeds also contain the healthiest kind of fat called omega 3 essential fats.

Another powerful brain food is the egg. Eggs contain choline which the brain converts into acetylcholine the most important neurotransmitter for memory. A great way to start the day is an egg with some whole grain toast and a big glass of water. If you don’t have time for an egg and toast you can always grab an INBar which is perhaps the most convenient way to quickly supply the brain the B vitamins and essential fats it needs everyday. Let set ourselves up for success this school year with healthy choices for our brains…this could easily be the best year our brains have ever had!

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