New You Boot Camp Discussion – The best 10 brain foods and their benefits

Our brains take up only 2% of our body weight yet consume nearly 20% of our body’s energy. That’s why what we feed our brains is so important. Also, brain cells prefer a constant, steady supply of glucose. Eating “brain food” improves everyone’s moods, elevates learning and concentration, and sharpens memory and attention. The brain is an extremely metabolically active organ, making it a very hungry one, and a picky eater at that. The right food, or the natural neurochemicals that they contain, can enhance mental capabilities — keep you motivated, magnify memory, speed reaction times, defuse stress, perhaps even prevent brain aging.

According to our naturopathic chef, Rose Chamberlain here are the best 10 brain foods and their benefits:

1.         Oily fish

Oily fish is rich in omega-3 fats, Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) that cannot be made by the body and must be obtained through diet.

Once consumed, Omega 3 is metabolized by the body to create DHA – decosahexaenoic acid. About 40% of the fatty acids in brain cell membranes are DHA. Low DHA levels have been linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. Good sources of omega 3 include oily fish- (salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers), linseed (flaxseed) oil, pumpkin seeds, walnut oil. Omega-3 fatty acid is a powerful and versatile nutrient that is essential for a healthy brain, heart, joints and general wellbeing.

2.         Eggs

Eggs contain Choline; a new substance recently discovered, this incredible substance is often grouped with B vitamins. Choline is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signalling molecules in the brain, along with various other functions. Choline is the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in many functions including memory and muscle control.

Choline is used by the body for so many different functions and its deficiency is now thought to have an impact on diseases such as liver disease, atherosclerosis and possibly neurological disorders.

Choline can be found in a wide variety of foods but Egg yolks are the most concentrated source.

3.         Blueberries & blackberries

Blueberries and blackberries have the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA through oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress has been connected with increased risk of certain cancers and brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Several researchers suggest that the consumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss.


4.         Wholegrain foods

Diets containing wholegrain foods have been shown to lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. Whole-grains normally are used for their fibre content and capacity to reduce cholesterol. But it has other important nutrients such as vitamin E, selenium and phytic acid an antioxidant which effects may help prevent damage to blood vessels. These play a role in lowering the risk of developing heart disease and improve circulation. Good blood circulation will promote good blood flow to all organs including the brain. Another important aspect of wholegrain foods is their low-GI capacity which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day.

5.         Tomatoes

A recent study has suggested that the natural antioxidant lycopene present in tomatoes, has potential for neuro-protection and is a promising candidate for prevention and treatment of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.

6.         Dark vegetables

Dark vegetables are a great source of magnesium and vitamin K, which are known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.

They are also filled with antioxidants like vitamin C and plant compounds called carotenoids, which are particularly powerful brain protectors. A Harvard Medical School study with more than 13,000 women found that those who ate cruciferous vegetable up to three times a week, lowered their brain age by 1 to 2 years.

7.         Pumpkin seeds

Zinc is a powerful antioxidant but is also essential for synthesis of coenzymes that mediate biogenic-amine synthesis and metabolism of our immune system and neurotransmitters. Acute Zinc deficiency impairs brain function of experimental animals and humans. The good news is that just a handful of pumpkin seeds a day is equivalent to your recommended daily amount of zinc, vital for enhancing memory.

8.         Nuts and seeds

Recent research has indicated that increased vulnerability to oxidative stress may be the major factor involved in Central Nerve System functional declines in aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases, and that antioxidants, including vitamin E, might help to prevent cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly.

Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E. Add a handful a day of mixed nuts or seeds like walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed or unhydrogenated nut butters such as almond butter, cashew butter and tahini. Avoid salted roasted and salted nuts.

9.         Water

70 percent of our body is composed of water and our systems need water for almost every single function.  Dehydration can cause loss of focus, memory, brain fatigue and brain fog, as well as headaches, sleep issues, anger, depression, and many more. We can survive up to three weeks without food but would die in 3 days without water.

About three-quarters of your brain is water. A small study from Ohio University found that people well hydrated scored significantly better on tests of brainpower, compared with those who weren’t drinking enough.

10.       Turmeric

Curcumin, is a powerful anti-inflammatory from the turmeric root. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal preparation and a preservative and coloring agent in foods. Curcumin polyphenols share in common anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties with associated health benefits as resveratrol extracted from grapes in wine, catechins from green tea and certain fruit juices (blueberries, strawberries, pomegranates etc.) Animal studies have shown that curcumin, actually clears away Alzheimer’s-causing proteins in the brain called amyloid plaques.

At New You Boot Camp we try to teach you what these nutritional benefits from food are. However, for those who follow us on line we thought this blog would be useful information for you all.

We have got plenty of easy recipes on the website which will give you ideas on how to keep your healthy mental function and help with your weight loss.

Have fun and enjoy!

Check out the recipes here:


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What Is Causing Extra Weight? – Discussion With Mary-Lou Harris nutritionist

We would like to know what is causing extra weight, when you do not change eating habits, but you are still gaining weight. What is the secret behind the screen? We all would like to know. Could we easily improve on our health? The answer is here with Mary-Lou Harris who is our nutritionist.

According to Mary-Lou Harris (FdSc, Dip ION, ITEC) the senior nutritionist and Life Coach at the New You Boot Camp, finds that, in menopausal women, there is often an unacknowledged or undiagnosed adrenal implication.  Not only are the adrenal glands involved in putting weight on (especially around the middle) where there has been stress or erratic sugary foods in clients’ diets, but they also take over oestrogen production from the ovaries in menopause, and if the client has had a history of stress, then the adrenal glands are ‘tired’ and not able to perform this role adequately.  The repercussion in often into the thyroid gland, which exacerbates the problem by slowing down metabolism. Unfortunately, ‘sub-clinical’ hypothyroidism is often not picked up on the NHS tests.  This is only diagnosed when it becomes hypothyroidism.

What is the best way to prevent or stop this disease?

As the Life Skills Coach and Nutritionist at the New You Boot camp, Mary-Lou encourages lifestyle and nutritional intervention through looking at enjoyable ways to increase quality of life and life management tools to reduce stress responses.  She also creates individual personalized nutritional food and supplement programmes to recreate balance in the adrenal and thyroid glands.

How can you help with your weight loss?

Mary-Lou works on improving blood sugar regulation by eating quality protein and carbs at each meal, and intermittent fasting (No snacking…and ensuring that your meals keep you going for between 4 and 6 hours before the next food time.

She also suggests eating :

  • Quality oily fish at least 4 times a week (omega 3s have scientifically shown improvements in hormone health, and supports mood and stress management).
  • 2 organic eggs per day (they have natural tranquiliser properties)
  • a handful of pumpkin seeds in your meals somewhere through the day as they have magnesium, which is known as ‘Nature’s Relaxing Mineral’) and reducing stimulants (tea, coffee, alcohol and cigarettes).

Reducing wheat and dairy are also helpful to weight management in the menopause as they adversely affect digestive function, which is where oestrogens are recycled.

How can dietary supplements help with this condition?

Mary-Lou uses Adrenal and thyroid glandular supplements (Nutri West) to support the restoration of the gland tissue.  She also recommends a quality high dose B vitamin complex with magnesium (Biocare) to manage stress and the conversion of essential fatty acids to the appropriate hormones.

Because digestion is vital to both endocrine and hormone health, it is imperative to assess and correct imbalances in stomach acid (most people are too low…especially if there is heartburn or indigestion present!)  Without sufficient stomach acid, you cannot properly assimilate minerals and B vitamins that are critical to menopausal health.  At boot camp, Mary-Lou asses everyone’s digestive health as it is such a core factor to all health concerns.

Menomelt is an appetite suppressant, which Mary-Lou does not use in her practice.  Instead, she aspires to stabilize her clients’ blood sugars and satiety (feeling of satisfaction after eating) level through educating them and balancing biochemistry.  This is usually with the support of quality fibre and protein and fat at each meal, and blood sugar stabilizing foods like oat cakes and cinnamon and turmeric.  Intermittent fasting (no snacking) is also a successful way that she helps to create body system balance.

Hormone Replacement Therapy can be a solution but does it really help or just make it worst?

Mary-Lou finds that HRT causes her clients to gain weight, and instead, supports adrenal glands, thyroid and blood sugars to help reduce menopausal symptoms.

What are the most simple strategies to lose weight?

At New You Boot Camp Mary-Lou teaches clients to eat at between 4 and 6 hourly intervals, in order not to snack, as they feel satisfied from the previous meal.

This helps to balance blood sugars, leading to weight loss around the belly area, and supports the adrenal glands and digestion, and the liver, which are all essential for hormonal balance and weight loss on hips and thighs.

She suggests oily fish at least 4 times per week, as this supports both menopausal health and weight loss by improving the body’s ability to let go of fat stores.

She encourages her clients to assess their Candida and stomach acid status as the Candida yeast overgrowth can lead to hormonal imbalance and subsequent weight gain, or inability to lose weight. Stomach acid is essential to assimilate the minerals and protein that is vital for menopausal health.

Mary-Lou strongly advises against alcohol, and tea and coffee as they can so easily bring on hot flushes and negatively impact weight, due to adrenal stress.

We can use menopause as a time of life to stop worrying about weight gain and bring out the best in oneself.

This is the time when you can take up new sports or hobbies that you never had time to think about before…whether it be horse riding, tennis, salsa dancing, a walking or running club, etc.  Explore your sensuality…it is surprising how many women rediscover themselves and even embark on new relationships when they have been single through choice, or divorce or widowed.  This the time of your life when you have Life Experience behind you, and usually take less nonsense and make more sensible choices, leading to a more fulfilled life, fuelled by greater self-awareness..


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Why Did We Choose Cadiz?

So when we decided to set up the latest New You Boot Camp, why did we decide to hold it in Spain, and why Cadiz?

The answer is pretty simple. We’ve traditionally moved our overseas camps from country to country, and Spain has long been on our list. In Cadiz, we found a site that exceeded our – pretty demanding, I’ll admit – list of requirements. First of all, it’s surrounded by the magnificent Andalucian countryside. This is where we like to take our visitors on stunning hikes that will help exercise your body while de-stressing your mind.

Also, the grounds and garden (complete with swimming pool!) are simply stunning. This is what sealed the deal for us, especially as we knew there was plenty of room and the perfect climate to grow a range of organic fruit and vegetables.

This brings us on to our next reason. The Mediterranean diet is famous for being healthy and tasty, with a unique combination of aromas and flavours and proven benefits for your health. A mixture of fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses filled to the brim with vitamins and fibre is the staple of the region’s cuisine.

When setting up the Boot Camp we were truly inspired by local recipes and our chefs keep coming back to Mediterranean meals such as our frittatas, our vegetable mousakka and Mediterranean chicken with quinoa.

As great as exploring Cadiz is, it’s also a perfect jumping off point for exploring the rest of Andalucia. There’s a great train service just up the coast to Malaga, a city whose roots go back even further than Cadiz’s to the Phoenicians 2,800 years ago! If you are arriving from elsewhere in Spain, it’s easy to jump on a ferry too.

All in all, we think of Cadiz as our home, and we’re sure that before long you’ll feel at home here as well.



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