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Top 10 Back to School Brain Foods

by Nicki on August 31, 2010

Picking up where we left off in April and at a no more opportune time- summer’s over people! Whether you’re reluctantly heading back to school or dragging your feet to the office, these brain foods will give you the extra oomph you need (at least until the next holiday getaway or school vacation):

1. Fruits and Vegetables
Aah, the old reliable fix of fruit and veg. The more colorful variety on your plate, the better; the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in fruits and veggies can help improve your memory, amongst many other health benefits.
EAT: Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Bananas, Oranges, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Spinach, Avocado
SPRINKLZZZ SNACK TIP: Dried fruit makes a great, healthy snack to quell mid-morning cravings

2. Yogurt
Sure you can easily take it with you, but yogurt is a great source of the proteins your neurotransmitters need to help keep the brain awake and alert.
AVOID: Yogurts with a lot of added sugar. Better to buy a natural, unsweetened yogurt tailor it to your own tastes with honey, granola or wheat germ as a replacement
SPRINKLZZZ SNACK TIP: Yogurt and fresh fruit smoothies!

3. Nuts
Tasty snacks in their own right, nuts are also a great accompaniment to breads, muffins and salads. Instead of reaching for that seemingly endless bag of potato chips, go for a vitamin and mineral packed snack:
EAT: Peanuts, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans – even sunflower seeds.
SPRINKLZZZ SNACK TIP: Crunchy peanut butter- ‘nuff said.

4. Tea
Study after study has proven that tea has many benefits for our brains and bodies especially for the heart, the immune system- even cancer prevention! Covert from your morning cup of joe to a cup of tea; it will enhance your mental relaxation as well as alertness.
DRINK: Green Tea, Black Tea, Chamomile, Peppermint

5. Wholegrains
Everyone knows the bread is what makes or breaks a sandwich so whenever possible, choose wholegrain over white. Wholegrain is high in Vitamins B and E, folate and magnesium and zinc. Even whole grain rice and pasta are important for healthy brain and nerve cells, and to improve memory function
AVOID: Refined white bread that has much less nutritional value

6. Beans and Lentils
A great source protein, fiber and folate, which is essential for nerve function in the brain in addition to being low in fat.
SPRINKLZZZ SNACK TIP: Try dipping you carrots and celery into a delicious bean and hummus spread

7. Lean red meats and poultry
Rich in iron, contributing to mental alertness

8. Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids (the healthy fats!) and fish oils promotes communication between neurons.
EAT: Salmon, cod, herring, mackerel, tuna, anchovies and sardines.
SPRINKLZZZ SNACK TIP: Go Wild! Farmed fish are not as rich in omega-3 fatty acids and wild fish. The optimum choice is wild salmon, which generally have the lowest mercury contamination levels of all fish.

9. Water
Our bodies lose 10-12 cups of water per day – and we’re expected to replace that! A lack of water can lead to dehydration and headaches, an obstacle to anyone who needs to concentrate.
SPRINKLZZZ SNACK TIP: Too blasé you say? Add a fresh Orange, lemon or lime wedge to your water or mix half natural fruit juice, half water to spice up your life.

10. Get Your Calcium Fix!
DRINK: Low fat milk, soy milk, and natural orange juice
AVOID: Sugary drinks, colas and juices that will leave you with a brain drain
SPRINKLZZZ SNACK TIP: A delicious glass of milk- even most chocolate or strawberry syrups won’t add as much sugar as the average fruit juice


SPRINKLZZZ POWER COMBOS:

-Wholegrain French toast topped with fresh fruit

-Oatmeal sweetened with granola and natural brown sugar

-Homemade pizza with natural tomato base and veggie toppings

-Banana Nut Pancakes

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