I understand that gut and brain has a huge connection. Can you suggest some foods that are good for the brain?

Several studies have identified that a Mediterranean-like diet that contains more of plant-based foods that are rich in Vitamin B, folate, catechins and antioxidants can help in considerably slowing down the process in which the cell losses its identity. A Mediterranean-like diet also has beneficial effects on cognitive performance and memory.

Some foods that help maintain brain health are:

• Green leafy vegetables that are rich in B vitamins and folate.

• Sprouts are very beneficial to boost the body’s defense against DNA damage.

• Dark chocolate. Rich in catechins. Serves as a protective component for mitochondria.

• Matcha green tea has a potent antioxidant that helps in boosting production of mitochondria.

• Avocado and other nuts and seeds which are rich in healthy fats.

• Fermented prebiotic and probiotic foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut.

Most of the above mentioned foods are said to boost the levels of a protein called Brain-derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). This growth factor is essential for the maintenance of existing nerve cells and the production of new nerve cells (neurogenesis).

How long should I wait after eating to work out? What's the best thing to eat beforehand?

Eating before you work out used to be considered a no-no, but today, we know that it's a must for muscle growth. It helps prevent muscles from being torn down for fuel during training and kick-starts the muscle-growth processes sooner. You should consume both a whole-food meal and a liquid meal before your workout. The whole-food meal (which should be eaten about two hours beforehand) should provide a 1:2 ratio of protein to carbohydrate, with about 40 grams of protein coming from beef, chicken or fish and 80 grams of slow-digesting carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice or oatmeal. About 15-30 minutes before your workout, have a shake containing 20 grams of whey protein and 40 grams of carbs from fruit juice or carb powder.

Should I be worried about the sugar in fruit?

No! Most people will avoid bananas or pineapples due to the high glycemic index of these fruits. We find this irrelevant. Basically, fruit is fruit, and is ultimately processed by your body in the same way. And since fruit also comes with fibre and antioxidants, they're overall a much better source of sugar than a cookie.