What is the best fuel for your brain?

Elite nutritionist Freddy Brown reveals his top natural food sources for brain fuelling energy

22 October 2012    |    0 Comments

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To read Freddy Brown’s full list of brain boosters, click here to get yourself a copy of issue 35 of Fighting Fit. To buy this edition via our app, please click here.

Food for the brain is an interesting area of nutrition, and one that’s been accepted in some form for centuries. Obviously fish has a reputation for being ‘brain food’, and is effective at firing up the old grey matter due to its high content of the essential fats that make up brain cells and influence chemical signalling between the body and brain. Rather boringly, the most important substrate for brain power is carbohydrate as the brain uses sugar as its preferred fuel. Topping up complex carbs throughout the day, along with protein, will provide your brain with a steady supply of blood sugar. However, this article will briefly review some more novel strategies that may be of benefit for those looking to get a step ahead of the competition. Be warned, though, that the greatest impact on your intellect will come from doing the basics well: eating frequent servings of complex carbs, protein and veg. The extra boost that a supplement may give will be nothing compared to the benefits of simply eating well.

FISH OIL
Oily fish contains EPA, a fatty acid that exerts anti-inflammatory effects which, in turn, have an impact on mental acuity and mood. The other protagonist is DHA – the building block of brain cells. Oily fish or supplements will keep your levels topped up, although it may take several weeks to build up in the body. A recent trial in elite female footballers showed that a high dose of a DHA-rich supplement improved reactions and working memory in a validated test of cognition. A raft of previous studies have shown that supplements high in EPA are effective at combating symptoms of overtraining and boosting the brains of those with learning difficulties. Either way, fish oils are more friend than foe.

BEST FOR: BUILDING GREY MATTER AND COMBATTING POST-EXERCISE INFLAMMATION.
FOODS: MACKEREL, SALMON, (FRESH) TUNA, SARDINES.
SUPPLEMENTS: HOLLAND AND BARRETT’S OMEGA SUPREME PROVIDES A DOSE WORTH TAKING, AS DOES HEALTH-SPAN’S SUPER OMEGA 3. ALIMENT AND ESKIMO ALSO PROVIDE GOOD-FLAVOURED OILS AND CAPSULES WITH HEFTY EPA AND DHA.

To read Freddy Brown’s full list of brain boosters, click here to get yourself a copy of issue 35 of Fighting Fit. To buy this edition via our app, please click here.


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Fighting Fit is published by Newsquest Specialist Media, the world’s leading combat sport publisher. Other titles include Boxing News, The Boxing News Annual and The Boxing News Health & Fitness Series

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