This week, the CHFAs Revive in Five Challenge dares us to sharpen our mental focus.
Last week, the Canadian Health Food Association’s (CHFA) Revive in Five challenged us to improve our flexibility and strengthen our joints, muscles, and bones. But, after a week of yoga poses and weighted lunges, we get to change our focus and move forward to week four.
This week, our goal is sharpen our focus by using meditation, exercises, foods, and supplements.
The practice of meditation isn’t something that many people would consider to be associated with fitness, but it still shares many of the same mind-body benefits as kicking a soccer ball or going for a walk. In studies, meditation has been shown to reduce blood pressure, stress, and anxiety levels, and improve mood. It’s also shown to improve attention and memory. So, sit tall, take a deep breath, and find your inner peace!
In order to hone your body and mind, try exercises that require concentration and coordination, such as clock hops or shuttle drills. Check out the CHFA’s website to learn more about these exercises.
While a steaming mug of coffee may not be on the list this week, a steaming mug of ginseng tea sure is! This tea contains compound called “ginsenosides,” which, according to some studies, may help to improve some aspects of cognitive function and reduce depression and anxiety.
Those who aren’t tea drinkers can instead make sure to give their grey matter plenty of brain-food. Glucose, which is a complex sugar that feeds the brain, is needed to keep the mind slips at a minimum. And, in order lessen blood sugar peaks, complex carbohydrates are the best nutrients to get glucose from.
Legumes and sourdough bread (for the carb-lovers out there), are great sources of the complex carbohydrates that will help your brain keep functioning in tip-top shape. So why not add some brain-boosting dinners to this week’s meal plan?
Try some Chickpeas and Sautéed Kale and Tapenade Sauce or Lentil and Potato Soup for dinner tonight!
In order to give our brains even more of a boost this week, the CHFA suggests a few supplements to help us meet our goal. Ginkgo biloba, which increases blood flow in the small blood vessels that feed our brains, may work with ginseng to help improve cognitive function. This duo may also help to slow cognitive decline in the elderly. Meanwhile, marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids—EHA and DHA—are important to keep our brain’s neurons firing.
Of course, always remember to speak to a health care practitioner about any supplement you plan on adding to your diet.