Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Food for the Mind & Body

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Good food or healthy food is good for the mind and body. It enhances your thinking process, memory and keeps your body fit, supple and active. And this article tells you all about it. This was published a few years ago in  Asian Food Information Centre. It makes interesting reading.

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Have you ever wondered if what you eat affects your mood? Or of your mother’s advice to eat fish because it’s a ‘brain food’ was just a way to get you to clean your plate? With the growing incidence of depression and aging of the’ baby  boomer’ generation, scientists are now looking into the area of diet and brain function.

B Vitamins

A study by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia in women aged 20 to 92 years, found that supplementation with folate and vitamin B 12 improved memory and mental performance in women in their 20s and in those over 65 years of age. Vitamin B 6 (found in soybeans, chicken and bananas) improved word finding ability in women of all ages. The researchers noted that the normal diets of women were low in some of these nutrients. Folate can be found in fortified breakfast cereals, fruits and vegetables while good sources of vitamin B 12 are meat, fish, dairy products and eggs.

It is thought that the B – vitamins may help chemicals involved in thinking and improve blood flow to the brain.

Iron to the rescue

Teenage girls who are having trouble with their schoolwork, are irritable or constantly tired, may find that iron deficiency is their problem. A recent study in the Lancet of 76 teenage girls found that those who took iron supplements for eight weeks did significantly better on verbal and memory  tests than the group that took the placebo. The researchers concluded that even in the absence of anaemia, iron deficiency might impair learning in adolescent females.

Dr. Helman says ‘teenage girls are particularly prone to iron deficiency because they are losing iron rich blood through menstruation, they are losing iron rich blood through menstruation, they are growing fast, and they often don’t eat enough food rich in iron. “Red meat, chicken and fish are all  good sources of iron. “Breads, cereals, vegetables, nuts and eggs contain iron in a less available form but absorption can be boosted by combining them with vitamin C- rich foods such as broccoli or orange juice,” said Dr Helman. Iron  is important in other age groups too; In infants, iron  deficiency is  associated with intellectual and psychomotor impairment such as poor eye-hand coordination. This may  not always be completely reversed when iron status  is corrected.

Iron deficiency in adults can lead to an inability to concentrate, which in turn can hinder verbal learning, memory, mood and energy levels. Tiredness and irritability are both symptoms of iron deficiency. 

Nature’s gift

Benefits of sprouts :  #Sprouts contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can protect us against diseases such as pancreatic, colon and leukaemia cancers #Sprouts help increase bone formation and density and prevent bone breakdown or osteoporosis #They are helpful in controlling hot flashes, menopause, PMS and fibrocystic breast tumours #They help lower bad cholesterol #They contain highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction.

Benefits of tomatoes #Tomatoes contain large amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and iron #The red pigment in tomatoes called lycopene acts as an antioxidant, neutralising free radicals that can damage cells in the body. Research has also indicated that lycopene can help older people stay active longer #Two powerful compounds found in tomatoes -- coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid also help prevent lung cancer. #While choosing tomatoes, make sure you pick the very red ones as they contain the highest amounts of beta carotene and lycopene #Interestingly, tomatoes hardly loose their nutritional.

Also read: Taste of South India   *  All About Food

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