Brain Power Snack Foods

By Jonathan Roseland  Connect    

Snacking the right way is a definite must for the Limitless individual. Snacking can debatably make or break your mind power lifestyle. The good news is that brain power snacking is delicious, easy and very affordable (in fact it may actually save you money)

The Problem: If you are the typical western workaholic this is how you eat (and mismanage your energy levels throughout the day): Skip breakfast as you are rushing out the door, pound coffee at the office, eat a big lunch, crash sometime throughout the afternoon, reenergize with more coffee, an energy drink or a candy bar, power through the rest of the workday, then head home to a large dinner and relax after dinner. This is NOT the lifestyle of a limitless individual. Not to mention these larger meals cost more in the long run.

The Solution: You've probably heard before that it's better to eat more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day than fewer larger meals. Limitless snacking is the solution to this, snacking enables you to go a little lighter on the large meals since you are feeding your mind and body a steady supply of what it needs throughout the day. One of the reasons people in the western world do not eat a limitless diet is that meals heavy in grilled meats, processed breads, fats and processed carbohydrates make us feel 'full'. Many a weight loss expert would contend that the addiction to that 'full' feeling is responsible for a lot our societies obesity problem. By snacking continually you will be less hungry and will have the self-control to eat brain healthy foods for your meals.

Limitless Snack Foods
Fruits and vegetables – Quite simply fruits and vegetables make the most Limitless snacks. They are small, inexpensive, portable, and appetizing and can sit in a small container on your desk.

  • Blueberries: You should buy a package of blueberries every time you are at the grocery store. Rich in a myriad of the essential Phytochemicals your brain loves Blueberries are one of the best mind power foods on the planet. As recommend above buy local and organic. When blueberries are out of season, opt for cranberries, grapes, goji berries, blackberries or cherries to get your brain boost. Avoid: dried, sweetened blueberries.
  • Acai Berries: Another great berry to snack on!
  • Nuts: These are excellent for brain power and maintaining energy throughout the day. Nuts contain lots of protein, fiber and are rich in the good fats. Nuts also contain plenty of vitamin E, which is essential to cognitive function. As a snack food their convenience is hard to beat as well, they are very affordable, easy to store and transport with you were ever you are doing your snacking. Almonds are the king of Limitless nuts and should be purchased every time you are at the grocery store, almonds are high in omega-3 and the essential DHA acids. Avoid: You don't have to eat raw, plain, unsalted nuts, but do avoid the ones with a lot of sweetening or seasoning blends. For those avoiding carbs, macadamia nuts are much higher in fat. Peanuts just aren't ideal. Aside from the fact that many people are allergic; peanuts have a less healthy fat than many other types of nuts...maybe that's because peanuts are not actually a nut! They're still much better than a candy bar, though.
  • Tomatoes: Good as quick snack as well as a meal ingredient. Tomatoes contain Lycopene, an antioxidant that is good for your brain.
  • Seeds - Seeds contain a lot of protein, good fats, Vitamin E, stress fighting antioxidants, and magnesium (a great brain booster). Try sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and tahini. Avoid: the highly-seasoned, processed options.
  • Beans - Beans are another great, super affordable snack. Beans are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein. Beans provide a steady, slow release of glucose to your brain, which means energy all day without the sugar crash.

Tea – While not really a snack fresh brewed tea can be good for your brain and gives you a mental boost as you need it. Fresh brewed tea contains catechines, a type of antioxidant. Green tea is the best, drink it with stevia not artificial sweeteners. If you are a tea connoisseur and really looking for the best of best, find some genuine Matcha, a stone-ground Gyokuru Japanese green tea. This is the tea that monks have used for centuries before going into 12-hour straight meditation sessions. It has an effect of calming and focusing while stimulating at the same time. Sounds pretty Limitless to me!

 

Chocolate – Despite its mass commercialization chocolate is natural fruit byproduct. Dark, organic, chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and has some caffeine in it. Additionally chocolate boosts your serotonin (another powerful 'feel good' chemical), this is why people joke about being addicted to chocolate. Dark chocolate is also rich in fiber. (Remember, fiber = healthy cardiovascular system = healthy brain.) Avoid: sugary, processed milk chocolate candy bars. Cacao Nibs (or Cacao Beans) are a tasty natural chocolate snack that are high in phytochemicals and antioxidants your brain loves. Pick up a bag of Cacao Nibs and grab a handful when you are craving a candy bar.

A brain power beverage recipe from our friends at BrainReady.com:
We've found it easiest to just mix a large spoonful of 100% organic cocoa powder with a bit of espresso, organic unsweetened soy milk and some cinnamon, even a sprinkle of cayenne red pepper...yes, cayenne pepper!) in the morning (and sometimes again in the afternoon) to make a drink not unlike what the ancient Aztecs used to make: it's one tasty, brain & body-fueling drink that gives you your pure cacao bean dose without the sugars and milk fat, you get your protein from the soy milk, brain-enhancing (and blood sugar-stabilizing) cinnamon, a little brain-enhancing caffeine from the espresso and theobromine (plus more) from the chocolate, and a digestion, brain-enhancing and respiratory-enhancing kick from the cayenne pepper.

Sorbet – Looking for a healthy dessert alternative to ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth? A sorbet is a frozen dessert made with sweetened water, fruit and sometimes wine. Want more brain power? Try adding almonds to your Sorbet like they do in north Africa!

Nutrition Bars – Gluten and soy free nutrition bars such as Zing Bar, Lara Bar, Bora Bora Bar.

Bad Snacking
Unfortunately the grocery stores, gas stations and kitchens of the world are filled with lot of tasty, yet unhealthy snack foods. The prime suspects are corn syrup and sugar heavy snacks. As a general rule of thumb, the more ingredients a food has in it, and the more difficult to pronounce those ingredients are the worse it is for you.

Negative effects of this kind of snacking

  • The energy high/crash effect leading you into a productivity lull.
  • The trans fats in these snacks over time hurt your cardiovascular systems' ability to deliver blood to your brain.
  • Overall bad effect on the brain. High sugar levels in the brain has actually been linked to a number of bad psychological conditions such as Schizophrenia.
  • Diabetes & obesity.
  • Heart problems.
  • The employees who stock and produce these kinds of foods are apathetic about their jobs (at best!), these kinds of foods are frequently expired, poorly handled and unsanitary.
  • Increased expense of processed snacks.
  • A cautionary word on chocolate: The section above on chocolate may have you thinking; lots of snack foods are high in chocolate, so as long as it has chocolate, it should make for a brain healthy snack, right? Wrong. Most candy and chocolate bars contain not only low levels of cacao bean compared to the other unhealthy ingredients such as sugars, milk fat, artificial flavorings and so on, but the quality and processing of the cacao used in these products is often of low health benefit due to everything from alkalization (e.g. "Dutch process cocoa") to refining and processing and over-roasting the healthy elements right out of the beans.

Snack Foods to Avoid:

  • Candy bars
  • Pastries & breaded snacks
  • Fried snacks
  • Greasy snacks
  • A word on 'cheating': Most the dieticians/nutritionists we interviewed agreed that it's very rare that people eat all good stuff all the time. It's ok to have a cheat 'day of the week' as long as it doesn't become a day of unhealthy binge eating. As you switch your mind and body over to better consumption habits your desire unhealthy, yet delicious foods will subside.

Finally...

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