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Top 10 Brain Superfoods Which You Can Find In Your Supermarket

14/11/2017

 

 

When it comes to developing our brains, many of us turn to games, apps, course materials etc to stimulate our brain cells, in a bid to improve our brain capabilities.

 

However, the best way to nourish our brains, especially those of young children, is a lot closer to home. Our food choices are actually the most instrumental variable for enhancing our brain capabilities. It all boils down to – the amount of DHA and EPA which we are absorbing into our body as well as the necessary vitamins and minerals to help our brain to function.

 

Many studies have shown positive correlations between brain function and DHA and EPA supplementation; continuous intake of essential fatty acids during preschool years can also have a positive impact brain development.

(Ref Singh, M. Indian J Pediatr (2005) 72: 239. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02859265)

 

So which foods contain this and how can we best consume it to get maximum result? Here are our Top 10 food picks for a healthy brain!

 

Salmon

 

 

 

Source: (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/fats/7-sources-of-omega-3-dha-fatty-acid.html/)

 

While many fish species contain dietary EPA and DHA, salmon ranks at the top with the richest source of fatty acids! (Ref: Raper, N. R., Cronin, F., & Exler, J. (2013). Omega-3 fatty acid content of the US food supply [Abstract]. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 11(3), 1992nd ser., 304-308. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07315724.1992.10718231)

 

On average, a 100g salmon fillet provides a gram of omega-3 fatty acids, averaging out to 1/3 of an adult’s daily requirement.

 

In addition, studies have shown there various methods to cook our DHA-rich fish without reducing its DHA content (Ref: Al-saghir S, Thurner K, Wagner KH, et al. Effects of different cooking procedures on lipid quality and cholesterol oxidation of farmed salmon fish (Salmo salar). J Agric Food Chem. 2004;52(16):5290-6)

 

Serve your salmon grilled, steamed or even raw in salads! In addition, salmon is also a source of Vitamin D, an essential vitamin to help us absorb calcium and for bone growth.

 

Sardines

 

 

Source: (https://draxe.com/sardines-nutrition/ )

 

One of the easiest addition (in its canned form) to a nutritious meal is sardines. Sardines are usually consumed in its canned form because of its great convenience.

 

A piece of sardine in its canned form provides approximately 0.8g of omega-3 fatty acids, fulfilling up to 1/4 of an adult’s daily requirement.

 

While many may comment on the nutrition level in canned sardines, data studies done by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) had shown little difference between the nutrition level of fresh and canned fish. Ref (https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/report?nutrient1=621&nutrient2=629&nutrient3=204&fg=15&max=25&subset=0&offset=0&sort=c&totCount=242&measureby=m)

 

This implies that your canned sardines (especially when it is further enriched with Omega-3) is great source for DHA and its convenience makes it really easy to add in your meals. On top of its DHA goodness, the soft bones in canned sardines offer a great source of calcium, which also helps to build strong bones!

 

 

Spinach

 

 

Source: (http://stayhealthyla.com/food-of-the-week-spinach/ )

 

While fish easily triumphs over leafy greens as a choice for DHA, spinach has always earned its reputation of being able to fulfil daily DHA needs.

 

A cup of cooked spinach contains approximately 200mg of DHA. A daily diet of spinach will then ensure that you have more than 40% of your daily nutritional requirement covered. Ref: (https://www.livestrong.com/article/269247-natural-sources-of-omega-3)

 

Brussels Sprouts

 

 

Source: (https://pixabay.com/en/brussels-sprouts-vegetables-kohl-1856711/)

 

Brussels Sprouts has begun gaining popularity in Singapore because of its increasing use in salads or as a healthy snack. This leafy green does not lose out to spinach when it comes to providing DHA for our consumers.

 

4 brussels sprouts contain 73mg of DHA. (Ref: Bales, C. (2016). Handbook of clinical nutrition and aging. [Place of publication not identified]: Humana, p.73)

 

Brussels Sprouts has quite a number of nutrients such as folate, manganese, Vitamin B6, choline, potassium and Vitamin C and K packed in them. Boiling, roasting and stir-frying brussels sprouts are great way to enjoy this lovely green.

 

 

Milk

 

 

Source: (https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/animal-product/milk.html)

 

Commonly known as a great source of calcium and vitamin D for healthy bones and teeth, milk is a must-have in most refrigerators especially for families with young children.

 

Milk also contains protein, B6 and B12 — essential minerals and vitamins for brain development.

 

According to HealthHub SG, the amount of milk one should consume daily differs with age. You may make reference to the table below for the necessary servings.

 

Ref: (https://www.healthhub.sg/sites/assets/Assets/Categories/Food%20N%20Nutrition/birth-18%20(English)_FINALA4.pdf)

 

 

Eggs

 

 

Source: (https://www.livestrong.com/article/166363-brown-eggs-vs-white-eggs-for-nutrition/)

 

There are several health benefits that can be derived from eggs. This includes,

- Brain health - eggs contain vitamins and minerals that are needed for the regular functioning of cells, including the brain, nervous system, memory, and metabolism.

- Protein for muscle growth - eggs contain a substantial amount of protein who helps in muscle growth and repair

- Good energy production - eggs contain all the daily vitamins and minerals that are needed to produce energy in all the cells of the body.

- A healthy immune system - vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and selenium are key to keeping the immune system healthy.

- Heart health - choline plays an important part in breaking down the amino acid homocysteine.

- Eyesight - lutein and zeaxanthin help promote heart health. Other vitamins also promote good vision.

- Weight loss and maintenance - the high quality of protein within eggs might help keep people energized and feeling fuller for longer. Feeling full prevents snacking, which reduces overall calorie intake.

- Skin benefits - some vitamins and minerals within eggs help promote healthy skin. A strong immune system also contributes to a healthy look overall. (Ref: (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283659.php)

 

Having said that, one cannot have too much of a good thing. The main word of caution is not to give your child more than 4 egg yolks a week. Ref: (https://www.healthhub.sg/sites/assets/Assets/Categories/Food%20N%20Nutrition/birth-18%20(English)_FINALA4.pdf)

 

Pumpkin Seeds

 

 

Source: (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/toasted_pumpkin_seeds/ )

 

Pumpkin seeds are nature’s best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA converts to essential fatty acids DHA and EPA in our body.

 

On top of that, pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium which helps in energy production within the body, as well as zinc which is equally importance for boosting immunity, cell growth and division, and skin health among others

 

It is recommended for us to have around 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds every day to reap its benefits. (Ref: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303864.php)

 

 

Chia Seeds

 

 

Source: (http://thepioneerwoman.com/food-and-friends/chia-seeds-101/ )

 

Chia seeds are known as nature’s superfood. Chia seeds can be eaten raw, mixed into baking or even added to water. (Ref: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-015-1967-0)

 

It is highly recommended for us to take around 20g of chia seeds, twice a day. You can opt to mix it with water or use it a topping for your yoghurts and desserts.

 

 

Berries

 

 

Source: (https://pixabay.com/en/photos/berries/ )

 

Berries are packed with the necessary anti-oxidants to protect oxidative damage.

 

Supplementing your diet with berries can support brain health.

 

A 1/2 cup of berries equate to approximately one serving of fruit. Given its benefits, two servings of berries can increase the amount of antioxidants in our body and help us reap the benefits!

 

 

DHA Gummies!

 

 

Source: GSK

 

Mummies choose to use DHA gummies because of its convenience and great flavour.

 

Just one serving, which is three DHA gummies, contains 40mg of DHA! The gummies are also suitable for kids aged 5+.

 

Made with micro encapsulated DHA technology to lock in both benefits of fish oil as well as to remove the fishy taste which children might be averse to, Scott’s DHA gummies are the tasty and convenient choice for children to help fulfil their daily amounts of DHA.

 

In addition to this, DHA gummies also contain Vitamin D to support a healthy immune system and growth of bones. Scott’s DHA gummies also contains only 5 grams of sugar per 3 gummies serving. Its convenience is quite unparalleled as well. Coming in two popular fruit flavours, orange and strawberry, Scott’s DHA gummies are sold either bottled of 60 gummies or in sealable packets of 15.

 

Which one of these brain superfoods do you like the most? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

 

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