Smart snacks for a brain boost

Keep your brain firing with these work day treats


Got a big afternoon at work ahead? Have some dark chocolate at lunch. Cocoa beans are high in flavanols, which have a protective effective on the brain. Subjects in an Italian study showed enhancements in working memory performance and improved visual information processing in the hours after consuming cocoa flavanols, according to research published in the  journal Frontiers In Nutrition.





While a cup of green tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as regular tea or coffee, it does contain L-theanine, an amino acid that triggers the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This results in an increase in production of alpha waves in the brain that are responsible for heightened focus and attention, according to research in the Journal Of Pharmacological Sciences.





Eating flavonoidrich blueberries increases the flow of nutrientrich blood to the brain to improve cognitive function, helping you tackle big tasks with ease. People who had a daily drink of concentrated blueberry juice, containing the equivalent of 230g of fresh blueberries, had greater brain activation during mental challenges than those given a placebo drink, in a 12-week University of Exeter study.




Walnuts don’t just look like miniature versions of a human brain – they actually help keep yours working effectively.
Subjects who ate walnuts daily had a better working memory than those who didn’t in a study conducted by the University of California, because of the nut’s high levels of polyunsaturated fats – especially alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega 3 fatty acid that’s essential  for good brain function.






Spice up your meat to lower cancer risk

Adding black pepper and other spices to meat may reduce the formation of cancer-causing compounds that form when the meat is cooked, according to research from Kansas State University. According to the World Health Organisation, carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (HCAs) form on the surface of all types of meat, not just the processed kind like bacon, as well as fish when it’s cooked. If you add black pepper and other antioxidantrich spices and foods such as oregano and garlic, though, they prevent HCAs from forming. The research found marinading meat  has a similarly beneficial effect.





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