Brain food: Affordable & healthy snacks for our brain

What is the one thing that programmers around the world can agree on, regardless of the variety of differences they have? The job requires constant and rigorous brain activity — to churn out the best logical solutions. To put the pro in programming, a programmer must have their brain at its best functioning, at all times; and for that to happen, the brain needs special food (like every program needs a special code).

Here’s a list of most efficient, but budget-friendly fuels for your brain, to keep it and your pocket at their healthiest.

WATER

Let’s start with the base that will support everything — Water. The cheapest and most essential. Our brain is 73% water, which is enough to convince you how important hydration is for it. Give it what it’s made of! There are studies which indicate a decrement in cognitive performances at dehydration levels of as low as 1%; whereas lower dehydration levels at 2% show adverse effects on visual-motor tracking, short term memory, and a decline in attention. Make sure that your water intake is at least 2.7L — 3.7L (11–15 cups) every day to adequately meet your daily hydration needs.

RICH, WHOLESOME FOOD

Foods rich in carbohydrates with lower Glycemic index or GI value (below 70) are the best for your central processing unit — the brain. Prefer whole wheat or whole grain food over white flour food. These are high in carbohydrates and have a low GI value. Here is an abbreviated data of the Glycemic Index for such cheaper and healthier food:

  • Wheat roti — 62 ± 3
  • Chapati — 52 ± 4
  • Barley — 28 ± 2
  • Sweet Corn — 52 ± 5
  • Spaghetti — 48 ± 5

Breakfast Cereal;

  • Porridge — 55 ± 2
  • Muesli — 57 ± 2

Fruits;

  • Apple — 36 ± 2
  • Orange — 43 ± 3
  • Banana — 51 ± 3
  • Pineapple — 59 ± 8
  • Mango — 51 ± 5
  • Dates — 42 ± 4

Vegetables;

  • Boiled Carrots — 39 ± 4
  • Boiled Sweet Potato — 63 ± 3
  • Vegetable Soup — 48 ± 5

Dairy Products;

  • Full Fat Milk — 39 ± 3
  • Skimmed milk — 37 ± 4
  • Ice Cream — 51 ± 3
  • Yogurt — 41 ± 2

Legumes;

  • Chickpeas — 28 ± 9
  • Kidney Beans — 24 ± 4
  • Lentils — 32 ± 5
  • Soya Bean — 16 ± 1

VITAMINS AND MINERALS

Vitamins and minerals are extremely crucial as they work as fertilizer-and-manure for your brain. We fulfill most of our VnM quota through our food, but some essential vitamins such as D3 is only produced and processed when exposed to direct sunlight, so get up, and go out for that stroll. Some other essential vitamins for the brain are B1 (Thiamin) and B9 (Folate) which can be gained by the following;

  • Salmon
  • Barley
  • Papaya
  • Oatmeal
  • Green Peas
  • Soft Tofu (Paneer)
  • Soyabean
  • Lentils
  • Broccoli
  • Mangoes
  • Sweet Corn, and
  • Oranges

Analogously, minerals like Magnesium and Zinc work for our brain in the same way as spinach does for Popeye. You can get all you Magnesium and Zinc from:

  • Whole Wheat
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Spinach
  • Almonds, Cashews, and Peanuts
  • Eggs
  • Chickpeas
  • Lamb

Essential Fats

Contrary to the common belief, the complete elimination of fatty foods from your diet will do more harm than good. While “Trans Fat” is the bad guy, your brain still needs “Essential Fatty Acid” as it is technically a big chunk of fat inside our skull. As a matter of fact, an omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, is a major structural part of our brain tissue. Including food rich in Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid) and Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid) in your diet will prove to be the best plan to guard your brain against corrosion. You can get these from:

  • Chia Seeds
  • Walnut
  • Soyabean
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pistachios

ProTip

Now that you know the entire code to run your brain without any errors, make sure to keep eating light healthy snacks in proper intervals throughout the day, and exercise regularly.

Incorporate all this in your diet slowly, and develop a habit of healthy eating without going too harsh on yourself (you’re always allowed a few cheat days here and there).

And to get an idea as to how these food items are helping you grow your brain and perform better at your tasks, why not jump straight to Coding Ninjas where we offer you a variety of courses for you to select from? You have the best nutrients coupled with the best mentors with you — there’s no stopping you from rising to the top!

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To read more about keeping your brain warmed up about coding, click here.