Published On: Tue, Mar 5th, 2013

6 Brain Foods That Nurses Should Recommend to Their Patients

6 Brain Foods That Nurses Should Recommend to Their PatientsNurses sometimes get to spend more time with their patients than the doctor and while it’s not the nurse’s job to prescribe medication for patients, nurses can give educated advice on healthy diet practices that could help their patients as much as or more than their meds. If you’ve ever seen a patient eat a donut out of the vending machine and then complain that they just never feel well, you could suggest exchanging processed food for the following powerhouse foods.

If your patient is looking for natural diet suggestions for brain power and more energy, tell them not to make the mistake of drinking energy drinks to keep up. Food is one of the most powerful medicines and eating the right things will dramatically change your patients’ health for the better. Here’s a list of the brain food you can prescribe:

1. Eggs

Eggs are rich in choline and studies show that high choline intake helps with memory enhancement. Choline makes neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which scientists believe help with memory and brain health. 550 mg of choline will help with your memory; that is about 5 eggs.

2. Citrus

With brain function being heavily influence by eggs and citrus, you might start to understand why most nutritionists recommend getting a full breakfast on the day of a test or other major performance. Oranges and grapefruits contain flavones, chemicals that improve the function of blood vessels and stimulate brain activity during test taking. Nutritionists recommend fruit over juices because of the added sugar in juice.

3. Red Wine

The old policy, moderation is key, applies here. Do not drink an entire bottle of wine the night before your test. Drink a glass of wine with dinner to enjoy the benefits of grapes extract, which not only helps with day-to-day functioning, but it has also been shown to reduce chances of Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Green tea

Drink green tea instead of coffee. Studies show that drinking green tea activates the brain in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Because this is a key area of the brain where memory works, the study suggests that green tea helps to enhance memory. Likewise, green tea contains antioxidants that help your brain function.

5. Salmon and nuts

Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain to function and help improve learning and memory. They have also played a role in communication between brain cells and clear plaque in the brain. To get Omega-3s, eat salmon, tuna, chia seeds, walnuts and kiwi fruit.

6. Bananas

Bananas contain several nutrients that improve brain functioning. They contain about .5 milligrams of B6, which is about half of the entire amount of B6 you need in a day. B6 is shown to help with better memory and cognitive function. Bananas also contain magnesium, which helps with the electrical activity between nerve cells in your brain. Bananas also contain tryptophan and tyrosine, amino acids that your body uses to make dopamine, which helps with stress levels. So, basically, eat a banana before a test, and you’ll be enjoying higher brain functioning and a stress curb at the same time.

So, if you wanted to break down the above list for your patient into a usable menu, you suggest the following:

  • salmon and one glass of red wine for dinner
  • a well-rounded breakfast with eggs, citrus, and green tea
  • bananas and nuts for snacks

Food won’t replace medical care, but offering your patients nutrition tips could certainly change their health for the better. You are, after all, what you eat.

Eryn Greene writes articles for health and lifestyle blogs. If you’re a nurse and would like to further your education but time is tight, you may want to check into the online programs offered at several schools, including onlinemsn.usfca.edu.

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