Nutritional solutions to sharpen the brain

Nutritional solutions to sharpen the brain

The brain, the most complex organ in the body, with a network of billions of neurons that each connect to thousands of other neurons in a continual “ripple” of activity, has on average 6 000 thoughts per day. The energy required to fuel this incredible organ is governed by what we eat – determining concentration levels, memory retention, the aptitude for recalling names, places and events, intelligence, learning ability and preventing age-related memory decline. International nutritional expert and bestselling author Patrick Holford says that simply by adopting a well-balanced diet and understanding which foods to avoid, you can improve concentration, increase intelligence and expand your memory in order to focus on the task at hand.

“Your brain consumes more glucose than any other organ. On a sedentary day, your brain can consume up to 40% of all the carbohydrates you eat – that’s why you get hungry after exams! Any imbalance in the supply of glucose to the brain and you can experience poor concentration, excessive thirst and forgetfulness,” says Holford.


Holford recommends the following tips for a brain-friendly diet:

  1. EAT WHOLEFOODS – Focus on wholegrains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables. Avoid refined and overcooked foods.
  2. AVOID SUGAR – Stay away from foods with any hidden/added sugars. Read labels and learn to look out for hidden sugars.
  3. 5 SERVINGS OF FRUIT AND VEG A DAY – Choose dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach or peppers. Apples, berries, plums or citrus fruit are good choices for fruits, while bananas, grapes and potatoes should be eaten in moderation as they contain a lot of natural sugar.
  4. WHOLEGRAINS ON A DAILY BASIS – Aim for four or more servings per day of wholegrains such as brown rice, millet, rye, oats, wholewheat, corn or quinoa. Avoid refined ‘white’ foods.
  5. COMBINE PROTEIN AND CARBOHYDRATE FOODS – The secret to the Low-GL diet lies in combining proteins with slow-(sugar) releasing carbohydrates. The protein further helps to slow down the breakdown of these carbohydrates, ensuring a slow release of their sugars into your system.
  6. AIM FOR 3 to 5 EGGS A WEEK – Eggs are great “brain food” and the richest dietary source of choline and Omega-3. Choose free-range or organic.
  7. EAT COLDWATER FISH – Try to eat salmon, herring or mackerel two to three times a week as they are a rich source of Omega-3 fats.
  8. INCLUDE SEEDS IN YOUR DIET – The best seeds to eat are flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. Grind them up to acquire all of their nutrients, and sprinkle them over salads or soups. Make sure they are raw and unsalted.
  9. COLD-PRESSED SEED OILS – Good choices are flaxseed and hemp. Drizzle over salads instead of a dressing, or over vegetables instead of butter. Do not cook with these oils, as their essential fats are damaged by heat.
  10. REDUCE FATS – Minimise the intake of fatty fried food, processed food and saturated fat from meat and dairy products.


Up your brain power with Holford’s Advanced Brain Food, which contains B vitamins, amino acids and phospholipids to provide essential nutrients to the brain. Patrick Holford’s Brain Food Pack are easy to use blister strips, containing a month’s supply of Advanced Brain Food, Advanced Optimum Nutrition, Immune C and Essential Omegas to ensure optimum day-to-day brain health. For further information, visit



Get It Magazine Durban March 2018

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