Start 2022 with the right buzz and brainpower

Incorporate these superfoods into your diet to stay sharp and alert during meetings.

According to a US National Library of Medicine 2017 study, almost eight out of 10 Singaporeans suffer from inadequate vitamin D levels – which are important in supporting stable moods as well as immunity.
According to a US National Library of Medicine 2017 study, almost eight out of 10 Singaporeans suffer from inadequate vitamin D levels – which are important in supporting stable moods as well as immunity. Photo Credit:gettyimages/Fascinadora

Starting the new year with the right energy and mindset sets the right intentions that will attract positive vibes and occurrences into your life. So we have been told – to death. But sometimes it’s easier said than done when you are just simply not in the mood and don’t feel like it.

Rather than wait for the “hurrah” moment before we start doing the right things, here’s a reminder to act first so that the right thinking follows accordingly. Eat right so that the body sends the right signals to the brain. Healthy eating is vital in influencing mood, memory and focus. Fresh, whole plant-based foods will maximise brain function and prevent cognitive decline.

Remember, the drug we want in our bodies are phytochemicals, not just endorphins – that’s another topic altogether. Power up with these superfoods:

Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli will always save the day. Spinach is a powerhouse in vitamin C, beta carotene (source of vitamin A) and antioxidants. It boosts the body’s infection-fighting capabilities. Take it raw or lightly cooked as its nutrients are easily destroyed by high heat. Similarly, broccoli is packed with phytochemicals, vitamin C and vitamin E to help fight off bacteria and viruses.

Red Bell Peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits and are just as packed with beta carotene. Vitamin A is important because it strengthens and rebuilds the tiny hair-like structures called cilia in the lungs – which are attacked by Covid-19 and causes respiratory problems.

Fatty Fish is one of our favourite proteins and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which supports proper blood flow to the brain, which in turn facilitates cognitive processing. For optimal brain function, however, optimal levels of omega-3 EPA and DHA must be present. Do note that uptake – not intake – of omega-3 is important. Omega-3 is better absorbed into the body after a high-fat meal than a low-fat meal. The key is in when you take your omega-3 in order to have maximum impact.

Walnuts too have been found to improve memory and cognitive processing with increased consumption. It Is high in a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which supports lower blood pressure and cleaner arteries, thus benefiting both brain and heart.

Mushrooms are often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” as they are a good source of vitamin D. Importantly, it has high levels of a type of antioxidants called “ergothioneine” that are essential in preventing cognitive decline due to chronic neurodegenerative disease. Research has shown that people with the steepest decline in ergothioneine showed the highest incidence of cognitive impairment.

The best superfood to make it to the list published by Harvard Medical School is probably tea and coffee – for many I’m sure. Caffeine offers more than just a short-term boost in concentration. A study in the Journal of Nutrition had found that participants with higher caffeine consumption scored higher on cognitive tests. This makes a very strong case for ensuring delegates always get good tea and coffee at events.



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