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Your Brain on Food

Do you ever wonder how the foods you eat affect your mental health? Our brain is always "on" and it takes care of our thoughts and movements, our breathing, heartbeat, and senses - it's working hard 24/7- even when we sleep.



 

Fuel Supply.

Our brain requires a constant supply of fuel and that "fuel" comes from the foods we eat.

Therefore, what's in that fuel makes all the difference.

What we eat directly affects the structure and function of our brain and ultimately, our mood.

The best fuel is made up of high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, mnerals and antioxidants to nourish our brain and protect it from the stressors that can damage our cells. When we eat highly processed and refined foods that are high in added sugars and oils our body has trouble digesting, our brain health is also compromised. Not only do we have trouble with rising blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, we experience mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Nutritional Psychiatry - New Frontiers.

Today this new field of study is beginning to connect the dots between our mental well being and what's at the end of our fork. There's mounting evidence of the many consequences and correlations between what we eat, how we feel, and how we behave, along with what kind of bacteria is living in our gut.

Gut- Brain Connection.

The neurotransmitter Serotonin, the feel good messenger helps to regulate our sleep, appetite, mood and inhibits pain. Our gut is where 95% of our serotonin is produced and it's here where millions of nerve cells guide our emotions.

One of the biggest predictors of great brain health is actually dependent on our whether we have enough "good" bacteria in our intestinal microbiome.

Benefits of Beneficial Gut Bugs.

  • Protect the lining of our intestines.

  • Ensure a strong barrier against toxins and "bad" bacteria.

  • Limit inflammation.

  • Improve nutrient absorption through the food we eat.

  • Activate neural pathways that travel between our gut and brain.


Eat These Foods For Best Brain Health.

  • Fatty Fish like salmon, trout and sardines that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for best brain function and development.

  • Blueberries provide many health benefits for our brain. The antioxidants in bluberries improve communication between brain cells, delay brain aging and improve memory.

  • Broccoli is rich in antioxidants and vitamin K, which is a type of fat that's packed into brain cells. Broccoli contains compounds that are anti-inflammatory and the antioxidant effects protect the brain from damage.

  • Pumpkin Seeds contain powerful antioxidants and are an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper which are important for brain health. Zinc is crucial for nerve signaling, magnesium for learning and memory, iron for preventing cognitive decline, and copper helps control nerve signals.

  • Dark Chocolate that has a high cocoa content [80% or higher], is packed with brain-boosting compounds, incuding flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants. Flavonoids enhance memory and cognitive function and slow age-related mental decline.

  • Walnuts are excellent brain food because they contain healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E, which protect cell membranes from damage and support health.

  • Oranges and other foods high in vitamin C are key for preventing mental decline. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps fight off free radicals that can damage brain cells.

  • Eggs are a good source of vitamins B6, B12, folate and choline- all important for best brain health.

  • Green Tea contains caffeine and L-theanine, an amino acid that can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA. This helps reduce anxiety and allows us to feel more relaxed.

  • Turmeric and its active compound curcumin have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits which helps our brain. The curcumin in turmeric improves mood and depression and can improve the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

The Time is Now.

Start today by paying attention to how eating these foods makes you feel - not just in the moment, but the next day too. Try eating a diet based on these suggestions above, adding quality proteins found in grass fed/finished beef, wild caught fish, pastured chicken and turkey.

Be mindful about how many processed and packaged foods you're eating every day. Instead of eliminating foods and feeling like you "can't" eat something, try adding more real, whole foods first and see if you can feel satisfied without the packaged, processed "pseudo-foods".

When we adopt a diet of eating mostly whole, real foods, our taste buds will begin to change and we find that we actually want to eat this way.

Remember This.

Change takes time, so take it slow and give yourself a lot of grace in the journey.

You are worth the work to find foods that will feed your body and brain best.

Soon you will begin to notice the difference both mentally and physically and that's the whole point!

I'm here to help you, and I would love to make this journey easier.

You can find me here: https://www.janlindquistntp.com

Thanks for reading,

Jan


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