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 Brain Foods for Peak Performance
 

By Melanie McGrice APD

For those of us with desk jobs trying to manage the hundreds of tasks on our minds each day, our brains are our most important organ.

Not only does our diet affect the performance of our body, it also affects the performance of our brain.

Have you ever stopped to think about the benefits that you might experience from eating to optimise your brain performance rather than eating to fill your stomach?

With just a few dietary modifications consider these brain foods for peak performance:

DHA

DHA, (docosahexaenoic acid) is a polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acid which plays a significant role in the maintenance of normal neurological function.

It is concentrated in the region of the brain that is responsible for complex thinking skills.

Yet, one in every two Australians are not consuming an adequate intake of polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acids.

Fish is a rich source of DHA, however there are also a wide variety of foods and supplements now available with added algal DHA to ensure that we can easily meet our requirements.

Good choices include foods with added algal DHA such as fortified yoghurt and supplements such as plant Omega-3 from Swisse.

Adequate hydration

Research shows that dehydration can also result in diminished energy and concentration.

Yet, many people try to quench their thirst with caffeinated, sugar-laden drinks which can accentuate the cycle of energy and fatigue.

For enduring performance ensure you are well hydrated by sipping regularly on water throughout the day.

Low GI foods

Like petrol fuels a car, food fuels our brain. You aren’t going to perform at your peak if you skip meals and/or choose high GI foods which break down quickly.

For sustained nourishment of your think tank, ensure refuelling at 4-5 hour intervals.

Choose low GI foods for sustained energy release such as wholegrain sandwiches, low fat yoghurts, chick pea salad or fruit smoothies.

Tips to ensure that you’re getting enough DHA

1. Eat at 2-3 (150g) serves of fish each week. Try smoked salmon on toast for breakfast, add a can of tuna to your pasta or put some sardines on dry biscuits for a healthy snack.

2. Take a plant based DHA omega 3 supplement daily.

3. Choose foods which are fortified with algal DHA eg. Milk or yoghurt

4. See an Accredited Practising Dietitian to ensure that you are getting the amount of DHA that you need in your diet.
 

 Tips to ensure adequate hydration

1. Fill a 2 L bottle in the morning and aim to have finished it before you go to bed

2. Drink a glass of water before each meal or snack

3. Keep a jug of water on your desk

4. To add some zest, flavour your water with wedges of fruit.


DHA the Facts

1. DHA, (docosahexaenoic acid) is a polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acid which plays a significant role in the maintenance of normal brain function.

2. DHA is a critical nutrient for brain development and cognitive function throughout life – right from childhood through to our later years

3. Most people think that fish are naturally high sources of DHA Omega-3. However, it is the microalgae in their food chain that makes them a strong source of DHA.

4. There is a large and growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that people of all ages benefit from an adequate supply of DHA omega-3 in their diets.

Scientific reviews have highlighted the importance of DHA omega-3 in proper brain and eye development and function, as well as its importance in cardiovascular health throughout the life cycle.

 

 

Related algal DHA Omega-3 research

MIDAS
The Memory Improvement with Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Study, or MIDAS, was the first large, randomized and placebo-controlled study demonstrating the benefits of algal DHA in maintaining and improving brain health in older adults.

In the MIDAS study, healthy people with mild memory complaints who took 900 mg algal DHA capsules for six months had almost double the reduction in errors on a test that measures learning and memory performance.

To read more about the study visit here. 

DOLAB

Some new research that came out of the University of Oxford recently, was the DHA Oxford Learning and Behavior Study that looked at a population of 362 healthy children aged 7 – 9 years old, recruited from mainstream state schools in Oxfordshire, U.K, that were underperforming in literacy skills.

The active treatment intervention was approximately 600 mg of DHA from ALGAE for 16 weeks.

The study found SIGNIFICANT improvement in reading performance among the lower percentile of children who were underperforming in literacy skills, based on the British Ability Scales.

So in other words, the children that need the most help with reading and school work, find benefit from having DHA in their diets. Read more
 




About life’sDHA™ & DSM – Bright Science. Brighter Living.™

life'sDHA is a product of DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. life'sDHA is derived from a vegetarian (fish-free) algal source of DHA omega-3 that is naturally free of the risk of ocean-borne contaminants.


More information can be found at www.lifesdha.com.


By connecting its unique competences in Life Sciences and Materials Sciences, DSM is driving economic prosperity, environmental progress and social advances to create sustainable value for all stakeholders. The company is listed on NYSE Euronext.

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