Foods for Improved Memory, Focus, and Concentration

Foods for Improved Memory, Focus, and Concentration

It’s no secret that a healthy diet is the key to a fit body, but it’s surprising researchers to learn just how much the brain can benefit from the food we put in our bodies. In fact, this amazing organ that makes up only two percent of our body weight, but uses more than 20 percent of its energy may be suffering the consequences of modern diets that are high in processed foods and low in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Before reaching for a supplement that promises to improve memory and concentration, why not consider adding foods to your diet for a natural boost? Make these six delicious choices a part of your meal plan starting today.

Salmon

If it’s been a while since you’ve visited the fresh fish counter, now’s the time. Just two servings per week of fatty fish like salmon may reduce your risk of neurological disease. What salmon does that even fruits and vegetables can’t is provide large amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is an essential fatty acid that fortifies cell membranes, protecting fragile neurons from injury, reducing brain inflammation and helping the chemical neurotransmitters responsible for concentration and memory work more effectively.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are brimming with vitamin E, an essential micronutrient that studies suggest can stem the tide of cognitive decline as we age. One ounce daily of nuts or seeds including walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds or their butters is all you need.

Blueberries

Blueberries are a superfood for your heart, so why not your head? Packed with stress-fighting antioxidants, they’re a top choice of nutritionists to combat inflammation that contributes to heart disease. Researchers are now focusing on animal studies that show the antioxidants in blueberries can slow the loss of memory and focus associated with dementia. Mix half a cup into your morning cereal in day or make a delectable smoothie.

Avocados

Bring on the guacamole! Avocados are proving to be almost as effective as blueberries in promoting optimal brain health. Dieters who have long avoided these fatty fruits to keep calories in check can relax knowing that the healthy monounsaturated fat they provide are the key to keeping arteries flexible, decreasing blood pressure and promoting healthy cerebral blood flow. If you’re watching your weight, as little as half an avocado is plenty. If it’s not your favorite taste, consider making salad dressings with avocado oil. It has a mild flavor and carries most of the same benefits.

Beans

Beans are humble, but boast an array of essential micronutrients and a high fiber content which helps control blood sugar. If you’ve ever had a burst of energy followed by a crash after turning to sweets for a mid-afternoon boost, you’ve experienced first-hand the effects of unregulated blood sugar. The two types of fiber in beans keep blood glucose on an even keel, and since glucose is your brain’s primary energy source, it helps maintain a steady dose of fuel.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is lauded for many health benefits including its antioxidant properties that decrease inflammation and improve cerebral blood flow. It also contains natural stimulants including caffeine that can enhance focus and concentration. Like most foods or drink with caffeine however, more isn’t always better. A half-ounce of natural, high-quality dark chocolate provides the ideal benefits.

What are you waiting for? Take yourself to the gym, but your brain to the kitchen and treat yourself to a variety of foods that can give you a safe, natural cognitive boost.

heart-health

Early Care Reduces Chance of Stroke in Patients With Irregular Heart Rhythms

Heart problems have been a concern in American society for decades now. Many scientists and researchers are looking to find new ways to prevent both strokes and heart attacks from occurring. A group of researchers at Stanford University found that providing cardiology care for AFIB patients at an early age decreased the chance of a stroke rather than providing the care at a later age. This is mainly due to the fact that doctors can prescribe anticoagulants, or blood thinners. These blood thinners reduce the body’s chance of forming blood clots, potentially leading to a stroke in the future.

As we all know, the heart is supposed to beat in consistent heart rhythms, keeping us alive by managing blood flow throughout the body. However, sometimes this rhythm can be thrown off as we age, possibly due to other underlying problems that haven’t been diagnosed. This ultimately causes an irregular heartbeat, also known as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a fairly common problem in America with more that 200,000 cases diagnosed per year in the U.S. alone. Also known as A-fib, this condition occurs when there is an irregular heartbeat and the heart is out of sync. As a result of the heart beating chaotically, there is poor blood flow throughout the body. A-fib can also be known as arrhythmia. In the medical field, there are two types of arrhythmia: tachycardia and bradycardia. Tachycardia is an excessive heart rate that exceeds 100 beats per minute while bradycardia is a condition when the heart is lower than 60 beats per minute. As you may have guessed, strokes and death decreased when the A-fib patients went to a cardiologists. The decline of strokes and deaths can also be attributed to the anticoagulants that the cardiologists prescribed the patients. This is one of the main reasons that early care is so important!

As previously stated, it’s best if heart complications are diagnosed relatively early. Symptoms of dangerous heart conditions include muscle failure, chest pain, numbness of the face, and many more. These conditions can be caused by many things including high blood pressure, smoking, degenerative stress, diabetes, and genetics. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to see a doctor or your family physician as soon as possible. If it is in fact a heart condition, your doctor will most likely send you to a cardiologist. The cardiologist will then determine which medical option suits you best for your type of condition.

Even though we can’t pick our genetics, we can certainly reduce the risk of developing irregular heart beats that will lead to strokes in the future. In fact, a lot of these are simple lifestyle changes that you and I can implement immediately. The most important lifestyle change would have to be diet, for we are what we eat. High cholesterol foods like burgers and fries should be avoided as much as possible. Instead, go with a heart healthy option like some blueberries or salmon. Cardiovascular exercise and proactive cardiovascular risk assessments have also been shown to reduce strokes. You should make it a daily goal to exercise at least 30 minutes a day with cardio being your go to exercise. Cardio has also been shown to keep the pounds off, another condition associated with strokes. Also, avoid smoking at all costs as this not only affects the heart but dramatically increases your chances of developing lung cancer. In the end, decrease stress in your life as much as possible. This can be as simple as meditating once a day. In the end, strokes can be prevented. Implementing these lifestyle changes can be the best choice you can make. However, if you ever do find yourself experiencing these signs, receive medical attention immediately. The earlier you get treated, the better off you’ll be.