diet

Food

11 Memory-Boosting Foods To Start Eating Today!

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As we age, cognitive function and memory both decline. While there are certain things, we can do to help staunch that decline; such as regular brain-boosting activities, like crossword puzzles and Sudoku, limiting our stress levels and work hours to thirty hours per week or less. There are also quite a few foods we can incorporate into our regular diet, that many researchers believe also boost cognitive function and memory.

 

Can food improve your memory?

First, a note of caution: Thus far, statements from the National Institute of Health have all been to say that “there is insufficient evidence that food, diet, or lifestyle can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.”

That hasn't stopped researchers from looking at how various foods and brain functions are linked, and while Dr Sam Gandy of the Mount Sinai Medical Center's Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center notes, “I can’t write a prescription for broccoli and say this will help—yet,” that doesn't mean there aren't foods that have been linked to cognitive health in one way or another.

As such, we feel okay recommending the following foods for their potential memory-boosting effects.

Check out some of our favourites below:

 

1. Avocados

Though fat often gets a bad rap, avocados are loaded with the good monosaturated fats, and the combination of vitamin K and folate means that not only does this superfood help prevent blood clots in the brain, it also aids cognitive function, particularly in memory and concentration. It's also rich in vitamin E, an important antioxidant. Even more importantly, as Dr Martha Clare Morris notes, vitamin E may help protect neurons or nerve cells, which limits the likelihood of developing cognitive degeneration such Alzheimer’s disease. The benefits have been found in vitamin-E rich foods, but not in supplements.

 

2. Blueberries

In addition to being delicious little bits of nature's candy, blueberries are also one of the best antioxidants out there. This is important because some research suggests that antioxidants combat oxidation and inflammation, both of which may be factors in neurodegenerative brain diseases. Additionally, some other research suggests that a few of those antioxidants may improve communication between brain cells, as well as boost memory and even potentially delay memory loss associated with ageing.

 

3. Bone broth

Some natural medicine practitioners believe that gut composition can sometimes be a key factor in brain function, and toward that end, bone broth is a wonderful supplement. As bone broth helps reset microbe balances in the gut, amino acids such as proline and glycine may help boost memory.

 

4. Broccoli

Because broccoli is loaded with vitamin K and choline, it's another memory superfood; as an added bonus, not only does that vitamin K help with memory, but the antioxidants in broccoli may also protect the brain.

 

5. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is one of those pleasures you don't have to feel guilty about, as it's packed with brain-boosters, including antioxidants, caffeine, and flavonoids—a group of antioxidant plant compounds.

Chocolate's flavonoids assist the areas of the brain we associate with learning and memory, meaning they may both boost memory and slow age-related cognitive decline.

Keep in mind, though, that this needs to be dark chocolate, meaning free of additives like sugar and cream and so forth. We recommend shooting for at least 70% dark chocolate.

 

6. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens such as collard greens, kale, and spinach are great sources of vitamin E and folate, and as Dr Morris notes, folate has been linked to better brain health. It's believed folate may work by reducing an amino acid called homocysteine (which can trigger nerve cell death), but more research is yet needed.

 

7. Eggs

While no research has yet proven eggs can help brain health, there's plenty of research that supports nutrients found in eggs are important for memory and cognitive function.

In particular, eggs are packed with vitamins B6, B12, folate, and choline. Choline is especially important, as it helps create a neurotransmitter linked with memory, mood, and mental function, acetylcholine.

Additionally, the B vitamins and folate can slow mental decline that is age-related, and deficiencies have been linked to depression—just one more reason to eat plenty of eggs.

 

8. Fatty Fish

By fatty fish, we mean fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as sardines, salmon, and trout. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important to our brain, because 60% of our brain is fat, and half of that is omega-3, which is used for brain and nerve cell development, and is key to learning and memory.

As a result, it may not be surprising that omega-3s may slow age-related cognitive decline and limit the incidence of Alzheimer's disease, whereas as deficiencies have linked to learning impairments and depression.

Given that it's also delicious sounds like lots of great reasons to load up on fatty fish to us!

 

9. Green Tea

Just as with coffee, the caffeine in green tea can boost brain function, including memory and focus. But there's more to green tea, too.

In particular, an amino acid called L-theanine increases GABA (an important neurotransmitter) activity, which cuts down on anxiety, helping you to focus while also calming you. Additionally, the polyphenols and antioxidants in green tea have been linked to a lower incidence of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

 

10. Nuts

While there's plenty of science to support nuts improving heart health, only recently has that health translated to brain health and memory. In 2014, for instance, a new study found nuts both improve mental cognition and can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Researchers theorize this is the result of antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamin E, all of which help slow mental decline. If you have to pick a favourite, though, go for walnuts—they have extra omega-3 fatty acids.

 

11. Turmeric

The rich yellow spice that gives curry its colour and some of its flavour, turmeric has been a roll lately when it comes to health benefits. In particular, its active ingredient, curcumin has been found capable of directly crossing the blood-brain barrier, meaning it delivers its many benefits to the brain more efficiently.

In addition to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, curcumin can help fight Alzheimer's, ease depression, and build brain function and learning capacity. Wow!

That's quite a list of superfoods! Add them to your diet more regularly, and we bet you'll be feeling sharper and more alert in no time.

 

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Is Your Social Life Ruining Your Healthy Eating Habits?

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Is your social life hindering your healthy eating habits? It might be an after-work drink that kicks on into after-work drinks, or hanging out with the friend who convinces you going to the dessert restaurant after dinner is a fantastic idea. Regardless of what it is, if you have gut problems, sensitivities, or are just trying to make healthier choices with your eating, it's time to take responsibility for your own actions.

In this article I'm going to share some tips to incorporate your healthy eating habits into your social life.


[READ MENUS]
Before you go to a restaurant read the menu and see if there's things you're able to eat, or if you're able to request changes. Restaurants that won't accept menu alterations will usually have it written on their menus. 


[COOKING TERMS]
Familiarise yourself with cooking terms if you haven't already. Examples:
- Blanch: plunging fruits and veg into boiling water for a very brief period of time and then refreshing them in ice or cold water to cease the cooking process.
- Poach: cook a food by placing it in simmering liquid.
- Steam: cooking food in an enclosed environment infused with steam.
You get the idea, I'm sure ;)


[DRINK WATER]
I always opt for water as my drink when I am eating out at a restaurant. There's no need to choose juice, soda, or alcohol to ruin whatever healthy option you're going to choose to eat.


[...if you're up for it... QUIT ALCOHOL]
Temporary or permanent ban, it's up to you. This is a tricky one, but the health benefits that can come from it (and the money you will save) is well worth it, in my opinion anyway. It's now been about 6 months since I've had any alcohol! Is it a permanent change, who knows, I don't like to feel locked in, but it's definitely had a huge impact on the overall effect my diet and exercise has on my body.

Many people use alcohol as a social lubricant. Without it you will actually have to develop some confidence and charisma. This might seem daunting, but did you know that alcohol will inhibit your human growth hormone (which your body needs for recovery and growth) by as much as 70% in the days following a night of drinks.  That's a lot of gym work down the drain, especially if you already have a sluggish metabolism or thyroid issues.


[INVITE THEM OVER]
Host a dinner where everyone brings over a meal to share! This option means you can wow (or horrify) your guests with your culinary skills... or lack thereof, and you can have a casual evening in with good company and food that suits your needs!


[CHANGES]
Ask the waitstaff how something is cooked if it isn't suggested in the name of the dish. And request small changes to adapt your meal to suit you, e.g. for my keto maintenance I'm most likely to ask for "no rice and double veggies". One thing to overcome with this is the mental hurdle of feeling like you're being a hassle or making someone go out of their way for you, feel free to ask, this is your health that you're trying to look after.


[MODERATION]
Remember that it's totally fine to let yourself relax and not feel restricted by your choices. If you struggle with keeping on top of this and keeping yourself accountable set yourself a set time, or set allowances for having your relaxed meals (treat meals, cheat meals, whatever you like to call them). For example, every Friday night, or two allowances per week. This is just to ensure that you knowhow often you're eating things which don't suit your goals.


Overall, it's important to find a lifestyle that suits your goals and works best with your body. So whether you're vegetarian, keto, vegan, fodmaps, sugar-free, or any other plethora of diet-styles out there you'll need to make your lifestyle work with your eating habits, rather than thinking the food you have to eat is a chore and getting in the way of your social life. Find ways to enjoy the whole lifestyle change, not just tolerate them!

Food

Recipe: Peaches and Cream Smoothie

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Photography by me, set styling by Kymberly Louise

Whilst Beau and I are busy packing and getting ready to head overseas tomorrow amongst still working and finishing off our books smoothies have become such a convenient snack option for us. This little number is a great option for the mornings.


Makes 1 serving
Carbs 26g / Fat 3g / Protein 5g / Calories 143

coeliacvegetarian

Ingredients

  • 1 large peach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • (optional) 1 tsp coconut nectar [for extra sweetness]
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Method

  1. No real steps, just cut the peach up and throw it all into a blender!
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Food

Meal Prepping

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Why do Beau and I meal prep? To keep on track, to know exactly what we're eating and to have our food already prepared because we are so busy! Pre-preparing your meals is going to make sticking to your food goals so much easier for you, and it works out relatively cheap too. We find that when we prep our meals we waste less food and we eat out less. It results in us saving money and then because we're eating healthy we feel good. This is about a weeks worth of food for us and it cost $132 (which works out to us spending $9.42 each per DAY for our food - so cheap!!) and a couple of hours of effort. (It took half an hour to cut up the fruit and veggies as well as puree the mango. Then about an hour and a half to cook all the food).

What do we have this week?

Left to right, top to bottom:

Chia seed pudding x 4 (base pudding recipe here)

Kiwi fruit x 4

Mango puree (to eat with chia seed puddings)

Blueberries x 2

Protein muffins x 4 (recipe here)

Paprika & chilli chicken with vegetables x 6

Chicken, chickpeas and vegetables x 4

Bananas x 1 million

Mince and lettuce leaves (we eat this as 'tacos' with avocado and tomato)

Watermelon (prepared to go into smoothies)

Cut up pears x 4

Cut up carrots x 4

If you're like us and you find that by the end of the day you want to just grab something easy and convenient because you've finished work late and you're tired, try prepping your meals like this. It's going to make your weight loss or fitness journey much easier.

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Food

Recipe: Chewy No-Bake Date Bar

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These no-bake date bars are such a convenient little snack! We made some the other weekend (and by 'we' I mean I made them and Beau stood around laughing at the food processor turning the ingredients into a giant ball). If you cut these up and then wrap them individually they're super simple to take to work or wherever you need to be throughout the day. The good fats in the cashews will help keep you feeling full so you can make it to your next meal without grabbing something that you shouldn't be eating!


Makes 8 bars
(per 1) Carbs 51.9g / Fat 1.2g / Protein 2g / Calories 205 

all

Ingredients

  • 500g dates (pitted!)
  • 10g cashews
  • 2 tbsp coconut nectar
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp cocoa

Method

1. Place dates and chia seeds into a food processor and process on a slow speed until they have broken down
2. Add in cashews
3. After the cashews have broken apart add in the cocoa and then the coconut nectar
4. Once the coconut nectar has been added the mixture may form into a big ball. If it does, stop the machine, break it up, and then process again for a little bit longer.
5. Line a shallow container with baking paper and scoop the mixture in
6. Chill in the fridge for a few hours and then cut into slices!

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