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7 Dietary Changes to Stimulate Your Brain

Food to stimulate your brainDo you ever get that 2 PM lull?  You know what I mean…your energy is drained and you are not sure how you are going to make it through the afternoon?

There is actually a term for it…“afternoon slump.” 

Many people experience a noticeable dip in their alertness, energy level and ability to concentrate in the afternoon.

There are several reasons this COULD happen.

  • Eating carbohydrates for lunch
  • Sitting for hours
  • You could be dehydrated
  • Your body temperature has dropped because you are digesting a heavy lunch


Avoid the Afternoon Slump

Dietary changes/JoAnn's Food Bites
Always incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise 4 days per week. Make sure you get your heart-rate up!

There are several things you can try to avoid the afternoon slump.

Get out in the sun for 10 minutes.  This can reduce the amount of melatonin your body produces, and boost your vitamin D.

Rub peppermint oil on your hands or get a scented candle. The scent of peppermint is a known to increase energy.

Do isometric exercises to encourage blood flow.  I like to contract my ab muscles by sucking in…holding it…then slowly releasing, consisting of about 10 reps, several times a day.  Think about doing it while driving.

Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.


Dietary Changes to Stimulate Your Brain

The best way to avoid the afternoon slump is to make nutritious, dietary changes.

These recommendations are good for overall health and well-being – not just to prevent feeling groggy in the afternoon.   If devoutly adapted, you will even lose a few pounds.

7. Add spices to your food.  Cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric are all associated with improved memory and learning, especially in middle-aged women.  These can easily be added to morning eggs or your protein smoothie.

6. Probiotics and fermented foods are good for our guts AND OUR BRAINS!  Fermented foods are natural probiotics, which can help digestion issues, but also reduce stress and anxiety, which would result in improved mental outlook.  Pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi.

5. Eat a handful of blueberries every morning.  Several studies have linked them to better memory and delay memory decline.  Doctors believe it is the anthocyanins that help people perform cognitive function tests.  Add blueberries to a smoothie or to whole-wheat pancakes.

Other foods rich in anthocyanins are

  • blackberries.
    Rabbiteye Blueberry Plant
    Rabbiteye Blueberries can live to be 75 years old. The berries can slow brain aging & improve balance.
  • cherries.
  • cranberries.
  • eggplant.
  • grape juice.
  • plums.
  • prunes

4. Eat FISH – especially those loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon.  In one study, those who ate fish at least once a week had a brain function 4 years younger than those who did not eat fish.

3. Avoid too much sugar.  Overindulgence of sugar causes insulin fluctuation and can lead to diabetes.  Inflammation caused by sugar can cause brain tissue damage.  Avoid adding additional sugar to your diet, get your dose from natural sources like fruits, vegetables and dairy.

2. Avoid saturated fats. One study found women who ate steak, rich in saturated fat, performed the worst on memory tests (study link is here).  Diets high in saturated fat can cause plaque in your blood vessels, which deprives your brain of the oxygen-rich blood it needs for optimal performance.  Doctors believe memory decreases as a result of  high fat and high cholesterol levels, which can be reversed with a healthier diet.

Saturated fats can be found in butter, red meat and many processed foods.

1. Try the Mediterranean Diet. Inspired by the regional culinary habits of southern Italy, the Mediterranean diet consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, bread, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.  Foods to avoid are sugar-sweetened beverages, any product with added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.

Not only do we need to take care of our bodies, but also OUR MINDS.

Click to read: Over 300 residents of Acciaroli, Italy are over 100 years old and do not suffer from Alzheimer’s



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