When you have a lot of projects that require having your brain work at maximum capacity, your first inclination might be turning to a stimulant like coffee for how its works on the nervous system. After all, its caffeine temporarily blocks a disruptive chemical called adenosine that causes irritability and over excitement to replace it with an upswing of new energy and clearer thought processing. However, a superior way to fire up longer lasting mental sharpness is through nutrient packed brain snacks for better thinking.
Brain Snacks to Speed Up Thought Processing
One of the simplest solutions is preparing a homemade trail mix for some wholesome brain snacks to keep on hand. For every one-fourth cup serving, I use seven halved walnuts (185 calories) along with one tablespoon of sunflower seeds and about one-fourth cup of chopped, dried apricots (about seven).
You can vary your choice of dried fruit, but I prefer the lower calories of apricots (about 80 for that amount) and extra fiber that apricots provide compared to the other antioxidant vitamin A and E rich alternatives like cherries or blueberries. When dried cherries are substituted, the calories increase to 140 and 150 for a one-fourth cup serving. Apricots also contain small amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium along with very little sodium, which is always a good thing to stay ahead of if you don’t want to raise your blood pressure.
The walnuts have the satisfying protein you need, having 12 grams along with vitamin E and vitamin B-6 to keep nerves balanced instead of shaky. They also have fantastic minerals such magnesium and calcium. Due to their excellent omega-3 fatty acids, particularly high levels of DHA, walnuts have been shown to help the brain perform in how it learns and remembers.
Sunflower seeds are packed with vitamin E, magnesium and selenium for help with inflammation to dealing with free radicals from the environment that could damage the body, including brain cells. One tablespoon has about 51 calories with its protein, fiber and unsaturated fatty acids, especially linoleic acid.
When I make this, I only like to eat one-fourth cup of the combined mix. The total is about 315 calories per serving that I munch on when needed. I usually did this through college when running through campus in my race to classes to keep me going. This trail mix always came in handy for those times when I had no time for lunch due to some tight class scheduling. I always packed a zip-lock plastic bag with this mix for those times I needed extra brain power.
Another one of these brain snacks for better thinking I recommend that also packs well for any student or trips to the office involves roasting some garbanzo bean (chickpeas) after adding some brain nourishing nutrients from spices like turmeric, a dash of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, ground ginger, and Parmesan cheese before sprinkling with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Garbanzo beans are full of protein, fiber, and vitamins, especially important B vitamins such as folate and a host of minerals from copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorus to iron to keep the body going and the brain staying sharp.
Turmeric has a bounty of helpful compounds, most notably curcumin like cayenne pepper that can benefit a variety of health conditions such as diabetes, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, weight loss to Alzheimer’s to even cancer, being anti-inflammatory and such a wonderful source of antioxidants.
I don’t care for the taste of turmeric alone with its curry-like flavor, but the other ingredients that I add to this mix really alter the flavor in a nice way. Usually, I only use dry beans, but when I make this I prefer draining a can of beans and tossing with the spices, cheese and oil before baking in a 400-degree oven for about 25 minutes that gives great crunchiness. The recipe just seems to bake better than attempting with the dried form for some reason.
Ginger also has remarkable compounds in its makeup that can better health from nausea to pain and inflammation. It also has plenty of nutritional value for boosting mental capacity with its vitamins and minerals such as B6, folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, and minerals such as zinc and magnesium among others.
Garlic has antimicrobial properties, being a natural antibiotic that you can never become resistant too unlike commercial antibiotics when you eat it in its raw form. For this recipe, I rely on garlic powder (not garlic salt) more for flavor as well as its calcium, phosphorus, iron, B6, and magnesium.
The Parmesan cheese boosts the deliciousness of these roasted garbanzo beans while supplying additional protein, calcium, vitamin A, phosphorus, potassium, choline, and folate. These are just some of the nutrients this food choice has to offer.
For those times when you still have difficulty concentrating and remembering, another of these brain snacks that can come to your assistance is making use of horseradish for its compounds that can alter brain chemistry for clearer concentration. You can add it to favorite dip, sandwich spread or something like a hard-boiled egg that can further help out when a foggy mind is a problem with extra brain boosting from the egg’s choline.
These are just a few suggestions for brain snacks through the right nutrients and mini meals that make all the difference for better thinking.