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These Natural Foods Will Keep You Alert

There are times you need to stay alert and watchful. Studies show that certain foods can help you achieve this, as their nutrients affect the nervous system and brain activity. There is general agreement that eating high carbohydrate foods tends to slow the mind, while protein foods counter the lethargic effects of the carbohydrates. To stay sharp and attentive, choose lean beef, seafood, low-fat yoghurt and skim milk. Try harder to avoid sugary snacks and fats. Make some adjustments to your meals, including a little protein – five to ten percent – to your main course of pasta, rice, potatoes or breads.

When starting a meal, approach the protein first. Save the carbohydrates for just a bit later, after you have begun digesting the protein portion. This ensures that the protein reaches the brain first, and you will feel energized.

Seafood, which contains zinc, will help improve your short-term memory and concentration. Studies show that both men and women, lacking in even small amounts of zinc, did poorly in standard memory tests. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc is 15 milligrams, less than an ounce of raw oysters, which supplies 20 milligrams. Other good sources of zinc include fatty fish, dark-meat turkey, legumes, cereals, and whole grains.

Shun saturated animal fat, which adversely affects brain functioning. Researchers speculate that fats cause broad and diffuse alteration in the brain.

You need all of these, everyday: thiamine, riboflavin, carotene and iron. Especially among older people, deficits in these resulted in slower thinking. Try to raise your level of thiamine, which is supplied by wheat germ and bran, nuts, cereals and meats. Also ensure that you eat enough riboflavin, found in liver, cereals, milk and almonds. Thoughts flow better with carotene, drawn from dark green leafy vegetables, and orange fruits and vegetables. And be sure you eat sufficient iron-rich foods, such as liver, green vegetables, shellfish, red meat and soybeans.

Research also shows that just a bit of caffeine in coffee is adequate to keep you charged. Chemically, caffeine resembles a brain substance called adenosine, which is produced by nerve endings to halt brain cell activity. Caffeine passes off as adenosine and displaces the actual brain substance, which disables it from subduing brain cell activity. You, the coffee drinker, stay in a state of alertness.

In other studies, low doses of caffeine improved mental performance on tasks and reduced fatigue. Respondents showed increased attention and concentration. Drink no more than two cups of coffee a day.

Drinking caffeinated coffee after a light- or a heavy-lunch does result in better mental performance. Tasks were done faster and with accuracy. It is widely believed that having a cup of coffee in the morning and then one in the afternoon will give your brain all the energy it can use.

Fruits and nuts, high in boron, also are recommended for the brain. Boron is found in nuts, legumes, leafy vegetables and fruits including apples, pears, peaches and grapes. This trace mineral appears to affect the electrical activity of the brain. You need three milligrams of boron a day, that’s a couple of apples or 3 ½ ounces of peanuts.

Restrict alcohol to one drink a day. There is a connection between alcohol abuse and brain damage, resulting in shrinkage of the cortex, damaged cerebral structures and decreased metabolic activity.

Multiple studies support breastfeeding, which is linked to higher intelligence in youngsters when they were given breast milk as infants, compared to those on infant formula. Nutrition experts advise pregnant- and lactating-women to eat omega-3 oils to support vital fetal and infant brain development.