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A Harvard nutritionist shares the No. 1 food she eats every day to keep her brain ‘sharp and focused’

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Eating the right “brain-boosting foods” can significantly decrease your risk of developing neurological problems, improve your mental health, and help you stay sharp and focused.

As a nutritional psychiatrist, a big part of my job is advising patients — especially those who want to improve their brain health or are trying to recover from trauma — about foods they should incorporate into their daily diet.

And there are so many options, from leafy greens like spinach and kale to nuts like almonds and walnuts. But through my years of research, I’ve found one to be the most beneficial when it comes to helping your brain age well: blueberries.

The brain-boosting benefits of blueberries

I suggest adding 1/2 to one cup per day. Frozen blueberries are just as good as long as they don’t have added sugars, juice or preservatives.

Versatile, accessible and absolutely scrumptious, here’s why I love eating blueberries every morning:

1. They are high in flavonoids

Blueberries are packed with flavonoids, which are plant compounds that offer a variety of health benefits. Studies have found it can lower your risk for dementia.

People who eat a diet that includes at least half a serving per day of foods high in flavonoids may have a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline, according to a 2021 study that surveyed 49,493 women with an average age of 48, and 27,842 men with an average age of 51.

2. They are packed with antioxidants.

Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that gives these berries their characteristic color. Anthocyanins support a healthy stress tolerance and anti-inflammation throughout the body, particularly in the brain.

The antioxidant phytonutrients — that is, plant nutrients — found in blueberries also quell inflammation in the body and brain, and protect cells from damage.  

3. They are rich in fiber.

I frequently speak about the profound connection between our gut and our brain — or what I call the “gut-brain romance.”

Like antioxidants, fiber decreases inflammation and feeds the “good bacteria” in the gut. Blueberries are rich in fiber, allowing them to improve our microbiome health and reduce inflammation in the gut and the brain.

4. They contain folate

Folate is an important vitamin that allows neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers within our brain that govern mood and cognition, to function properly.

Where a deficiency of folate may underlie some neurological conditions, improving folate status has beneficial effects on our mental health, brain health and cognitive age.

How to incorporate blueberries into your diet

I love carrying a small container of blueberries in my bag as a healthy snack for when I’m on the go. But if you want to get creative with your blueberry intake, here are two of my favorite recipes:

Watermelon and Blueberry Ice Pops

These simple homemade ice pops are soothing because of their cool, lightly sweet taste. Watermelons are also rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, B and C. These treats can be made with almond milk for a creamier texture or coconut milk for added flavor.

Servings: 6 to 8 pops
Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups seeded, chopped watermelon
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1/4 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Steps:

  1. Puree the watermelon with the milk, if using, in a blender.
  2. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest and honey.
  3. Pour into stainless‐steel ice-pop molds until each mold is two‐thirds full, leaving room for the blueberries.

Chia Pudding Topped With Nuts and Blueberries

Chia pudding is a great way to start the day and doesn’t require any early-morning prep. Since it has to be set in the fridge overnight, you can prepare it the night before.

Servings: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup organic canned light coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • A handful of blueberries and nuts

Steps:

  1. Pour the coconut milk into a mason jar and stir in the honey, vanilla and cinnamon. Sprinkle the chia seeds on top.
  2. Screw the lid of the mason jar on and shake well so that the seeds mix with the milk.
  3. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  4. Serve topped with blueberries and nuts.

Dr. Uma Naidoo is a nutritional psychiatrist, brain expert, and faculty member at Harvard Medical School. She is also the Director of Nutritional & Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of the best-selling book “This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More.” Follow her on Twitter @DrUmaNaidoo.

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IMF hikes global growth forecast as inflation cools

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The IMF has revised its global economic outlook upwards.

Norberto Duarte | Afp | Getty Images

The International Monetary Fund on Monday revised upward its global growth projections for the year, but warned that higher interest rates and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would likely still weigh on activity.

In its latest economic update, the institution said the global economy will grow 2.9% this year — which represents a 0.2 percentage point improvement from its previous forecast in October. However, it said that number would still mean a fall from an expansion of 3.4% in 2022.

It also revised its projection for 2024 down to 3.1%.

“Growth will remain weak by historical standards, as the fight against inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine weigh on activity,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, director of the research department at the IMF, said in a blog post.

The Fund turned more positive on the global economy due to better-than-expected domestic factors in several countries, such as the United States.

“Economic growth proved surprisingly resilient in the third quarter of last year, with strong labor markets, robust household consumption and business investment, and better-than-expected adaptation to the energy crisis in Europe,” Gourinchas said, also noting that inflationary pressures have come down.

Global outlook is better but don't get too optimistic, IMF chief warns at Davos

In addition, China announced the reopening of its economy after strict Covid-19 lockdowns, which is expected to contribute to higher global growth. A weaker U.S. dollar has also brightened the prospects for emerging countries that hold debt in foreign currency.

However, the picture isn’t totally positive. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned earlier this month that the economy was not as bad as some feared, “but less bad doesn’t quite yet mean good.”

“We have to be cautious,” she said during a CNBC-moderated panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The IMF on Monday warned of several factors that could deteriorate the outlook in the coming months. These included the fact that China’s Covid reopening could stall; inflation could remain high; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could shake energy and food costs even further; and markets could turn sour on worse-than-expected inflation prints.

IMF calculations say that about 84% of nations will face lower headline inflation this year compared to 2022, but they still forecast an annual average rate of 6.6% in 2023 and of 4.3% in 2024.

As such, the Washington, D.C.-based institution said one of the main policy priorities is that central banks keep addressing the surge in consumer prices.

“Clear central bank communication and appropriate reactions to shifts in the data will help keep inflation expectations anchored and lessen wage and price pressures,” the IMF said in its latest report.

“Central banks’ balance sheets will need to be unwound carefully, amid market liquidity risks,” it added.



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Credit Suisse see Apple beating the Street this week for a few reasons

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Most Adani shares continue losses; founder loses $28 billion in month

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Gautam Adani, chairperson of Indian conglomerate Adani Group, at the World Congress of Accountants in Mumbai on Nov. 19, 2022. Founder Gautam Adani, the richest man in Asia and once second only to Elon Musk, fell out of the world’s top five richest to rank seventh on the Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.

Indranil Mukherjee | Afp | Getty Images

Shares of most of Adani Group companies continued to see sharp losses for a third consecutive trading session as the company attempted to rebut short seller firm Hindenburg’s report, which accused the conglomerate of stock manipulation and an “accounting fraud scheme.”

Adani Enterprises erased earlier gains of up to 10% and last traded flat in Mumbai’s afternoon trade after the group published a lengthy response of over 400 pages to Hindenburg’s report over the weekend, saying that it will exercise its rights to “pursue remedies” to protect its investors “before all appropriate authorities.”

Adani Enterprises’ stock price remains more than 25% lower in the month to date, Refinitiv data showed. It proceeded with a secondary share sale worth $2.5 billion, which were overshadowed by a rout that wiped out a total of $48 billion as of last week’s close.

Founder Gautam Adani, the richest man in Asia and once second only to Elon Musk, fell out of the world’s top five richest to seventh place on the Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.

His net worth fell $27.9 billion year to date, the index showed. It peaked at $150 billion on Sept. 20, 2022, before falling to to $92.7 billion as of last week’s close, according to the index.

Despite small gains seen in Adani Enterprises, other affiliates of the Adani Group continued to plunge.

‘Attack on India’

Adani Group said Hindenburg’s allegations were a “calculated attack on India, independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and growth story and ambition of India,” in the response it released over the weekend.

The group’s chief financial officer Jugeshinder Singh said in an interview with CNBC-TV18, an affiliate of CNBC, that the value of Adani Enterprises has not changed “simply because” of share price volatility, adding it instead lies in its “ability to incubate new businesses.”

He added that he is confident Adani Enterprises‘ follow-on public offering will be fully subscribed, calling Hindenburg’s report “simply a lie” and the timing of the report “malicious.”

Hindenburg on Monday morning described the group’s response “bloated” and claimed it “ignores every key allegation” against the conglomerate that it raised.

“Fraud cannot be obfuscated by nationalism of a bloated response that ignores every key allegation we raised,” the short seller titled its response to Adani Group.



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