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Good Nutrition Boosts Brain Power

By: Trina Lion L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

Looking to support your health and also boost your brain function? You can achieve both of these goals through nutrition. According to Oriental medicine (OM), good nutrition can improve mental activity, physical and emotional strength and immunity, breathing, and elimination.  

Where to begin? First of all, avoid excess. According to Oriental medicine, overindulging in food or drink can impair your Qi--the energy which powers the body and the mind. Greasy, fatty, spicy, and sweet foods can also lead to "stuck" Qi, worsening any symptoms of fogginess or sluggishness. So how can you support your brain and body health with food?  Consider these foods and their benefits for your brain and body:

Walnuts for Memory
Walnuts are a good source of Vitamin B and E, which may support memory function and slow cell aging. Try eating 1-2 walnuts per day for optimal brain function.  Nuts and seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, folate, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and zinc, all of which allow you to think more clearly.  Seeds and nuts rich in thiamine and magnesium are great for memory, cognitive function, and brain nourishment.

Leafy Greens for Concentration, Recall and Comprehension
Cooked leafy greens support the Yin which, according to Oriental medicine, enables better concentration and deep rest. Vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, collards, turnip greens and others are rich in vitamins, folate, and iron, all of which are essential for memory recall and increasing cognitive activity.   Oriental medicine considers cooked foods easier to digest, so throw them in soup, steam them or stir-fry.

Water for a Calm and Restful Mind
According to Oriental medicine, drinking water is a crucial way to nourish your Yin, calming the mind and improving your rest. Oriental medicine recommends drinking warm water, to support the body's internal temperature.

Substitute any beverages with pure water to transport nutrients during digestion, to act as fluid between the joints, and help regulate our temperature and skin (via perspiration). As a broad guideline, drink half your weight in ounces of water.

Berries to Improve Learning Capacity
Most berries contain fisetin and flavonoids, which are great for improving your memory and allowing you to easily recall past events.  Blueberries are well known for their role in improving motor skills and overall learning capacity.

Call an acupuncturist in your area today to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you enhance your focus, memory and learning!

Trina Lion, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., is an American acupuncturist currently living in Shanghai, China, where for the past three years she has been teaching Traditional Chinese Medicine concepts including nutrition, herbs, and acupuncture.  She has apprenticed in two clinics in Shanghai, practiced for two years in an expat clinic, and taught at Jiao Tong University, one of the oldest universities in China. In December 2013 she completed her first textbook for students describing TCM terminology. Prior to becoming an acupuncturist, Trina was an educator and literacy specialist who created educational materials for institutions that included the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the American Museum of Natural History, and the New York Public Library, am

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