Simple Food Habits to Help You Preserve Your Precious Brain
Although the brain is such a complex organ, determining who we are and how we navigate our way through this world, its maintenance and care doesn’t have to be complicated. Just keep these basic facts in mind:
1. Your Brain Loves Fat
60 percent of your brain is made up of fat, so the kind of fat that you need to consume has to be of a very high quality. Your brain is especially fond of omega-3 fats, but it also needs omega-6 fats. These essential fats are very delicate and prone to damage, so you need to consume an undamaged blend.
2. Your Brain Loves Water
The largest component in your body is water, so you need to consume enough clean, uncontaminated water to keep your body and brain well hydrated.
3. Your Brain Loves Protein
Protein is important not just for building muscle, but also for keeping your neurons talking effectively. If you don’t eat enough good quality protein, your neurons battle to chat to each other, and you could find it difficult to concentrate, leading to memory challenges. Protein should be organic if it comes from an animal, and you need to combine grains with legumes to make complete protein if you are a vegetarian.
4. Your Brain Is The Greediest Organ In Your Body
Your brain is the most energy hungry organ in your body. It needs a constant, stable supply of good quality carbohydrates. Vegetables and low-sugar fruit provide good, fresh sources of carbohydrates for sustained energy production, while processed and refined carbohydrates provide short-term energy fixes.
Choose whole grains and legumes for sustained energy release too, and your brain will enjoy optimal energy supply. A wide variety of fresh produce will also supply vitamins and minerals that your brain needs to function optimally.
5. Your Brain On Coffee
Caffeine supplies a quick rush of energy to your brain, because it stimulates the release of adrenaline. This makes you feel energetic to start with, but this soon tapers off, leaving you in need of another “fix”. Try one of the great herbal teas available, or opt for plain old-fashioned water, with a dash of lime. Most people don’t need another stress kick, and this is exactly what coffee provides.
6. Your Brain Needs The Right Carbohydrates
Think of what you crave. If it is chocolate and lollies, you are probably experiencing unstable glucose levels because of processed carbohydrate consumption, so you have to wean yourself from these insidious addictions. When people are tired from lack of sleep, ongoing stress and feeling overwhelmed, they usually reach for a quick sugar-fix to give them a spurt of energy.
A great green drink, full of nutrient-rich compounds, can help to get your blood glucose more stable, and lead to less cravings. Eating the right fats helps immensely too, because when they are supplied with the right fats, your cells produce energy more efficiently. This keeps your energy levels high, which leads to less energy slumps and chocolate-fixes.
7. What Goes On In Your Gut Will Affect What Goes On Between Your Ears
Contrary to popular belief, you aren’t what you eat – you are what you absorb. This means that you need to sort out any digestive difficulties you may be experiencing. Your food needs to be digested, absorbed and waste eliminated effectively, before you can be optimally healthy. Your brain can only receive the nutrients that are absorbed, so it makes perfect sense to ensure your gut is working well.
8. If Your Body Doesn’t Like A Food, Your Brain Will Object Too
If you are intolerant to any food, such as wheat or dairy, your brain will battle to stay alert and focused. This will of course affect your memory negatively. Researchers are still working on exactly why food intolerance affects the brain so negatively, but if you suspect you may be intolerant to a specific food, leave it out of your diet for a couple of weeks, and see how you feel. Interestingly, the foods that you crave are often the ones that don’t agree with you, as they produce an addictive-like response in your body. So, if you think you can’t live without it, the chances are your body – and brain – can do without it.
9. Food Additives Don’t Add Up To Better Brain Function
Check the labels on the foods that you are eating. If you eat lots of fresh produce there are no labels, but there are additives in tinned and processed foods that may be causing harm to your body and brain. Many additives are simply present in the product to make the product shelf-stable, thus avoiding any loss of income for the manufacturer. Furthermore, some additives are actively dangerous, like MSG, which is an excitotoxin, causing neuron damage, and eventually loss, when consumed in excess.
10. Eat Breakfast Like A King To Keep Your Brain Happy Throughout The Day
Whether you have breakfast doesn’t just determine your weight, it also determines how your brain will work during the day. When people miss breakfast they are setting themselves up for weight gain, because they tend to eat more during the day. Furthermore, focus, memory and mood are all influenced negatively by a lack of breakfast. If you are not hungry when you wake up, consider taking your breakfast with you.
As it’s best to eat only after you’ve been awake for about an hour, it may pay you to prepare your breakfast, and eat it when you arrive at your destination. It sure beats a cup of coffee and a muffin at your desk. Otherwise, you can go to bed earlier, wake up in time to exercise, and then eat your breakfast.