Inside our brains, there are many connections of billions of neurons that help process information. Much can be said about our brain because of the many research done on it. And, more is being discovered about our brain and the effects of food on our brain. Scientist can now confirm how our experiences and mental growth is influence by the food we eat . These food have that capability, because the ingredients in them, to influence the neurotransmitters in our brain. Such foods are called brain foods.
As we age, the brain functions decrease as well. Much of the food we eat helps keep our brain healthy and active in the various stages of life. A diet low in nutrients can therefore cause memory loss and a number of other stresses, specifically cardio-vascular dysfunction, and free radical damages. (Free radical damages are mostly caused by the pesticides in our food, heavy metals, and chemicals in our home. Other things that can damage our brain are intestinal parasites, candida, and chemicals such as MSG.)
Certain foods make a difference in our brain health. The building blocks of good brain health can be found in fatty acids (such as omega-3), amino acids (from proteins), glucose, and micro-nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Some of them can be manufactured in our body, but most have to be supplied through the food we eat .
Popular Brain Foods
Here are 10 brain foods that can help us develop and maintain a healthy brain.
Fish, particularly cold-water oily fish such as salmon and herring, is known as the number one brain food. It provides a natural source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and is one of the best protein choice as well. The DHA contains the omega-3 fatty acids. Thus, this food can help the brain stay healthy and alert. It also helps protect against oxidative damage and inflammation. However, for some people it is not always possible to eat fish regularly and the fish oil supplements could certainly be an effective substitute.
Another source for the omega-3 (EPA) is flaxseed flakes. Just two tablespoon a day with your meals can help your keep your brain healthy. You can also opt for one tablespoon flaxseed oil to get your omega-3 fatty acid oil.
Eggs are the best source of choline for a healthy brain cell membranes. It is used to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter critical for memory and thought processing and are also protective against dementia. Pregnant women benefit because it helps the baby’s brain development.
4. Cocoa and Dark Chocolate
The chemical, sulforaphane, in broccoli vegetable encourage the production of enzymes which protect the blood vessels and promote blood flow to the brain.
The phytonutrient lycopene, antioxidant properties, found in tomatoes is the highest among all vegetables. and help the brain function well. This antioxidant is essential for boosting brain power..
Beans provide the steady stream of energy while providing an amazing amount of nutrients, such as folate, fiber, magnesium, iron, anthocyanins and quercetin. This combination of nutrients protects the brain so it can maintain brain health.
8. Dates, Raisins and Prunes
Dates, raisins and prunes contain the trace element Boron which has the ability to enhance memory and brain function.
9. Dark skinned vegetables
Dark-skinned vegetables such as red onion and beets have the highest levels of naturally occurring antioxidants.
Certain nuts such as almonds, pecans and walnuts are high in vitamin E, an antioxidant, which helps in protecting the cell walls and and slows the progression memory loss.
More on Brain Foods
There are a number of supplements that can affect the brain, such as vitamin E, C, A, and the B vitamins. Another common supplement is ginkgo, a good brain-specific nutrient. Another is DMAE, dimethylaminoethynol, a naturally occurring b vitamin, can help enhance memory.
However, one should not forget the wonderful benefits of exercise which helps increase the blood circulation to the brain, bringing more oxygen to the brain and increasing the production of brain chemicals that are needed for information processing. Many physicians indicate that mental stimulation and stress management are excellent ways to also improve brain processing, concentration, and relaxation. Also, a good night sleep can help recharge  the body.
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- For Women Only. Gary Null, 2002, Seven Stories Press
- The Food-Mood-Body Connection. Garry Null. Seven Stories Press, New York. 1995.
- Your brain on food: how chemicals control your thoughts and feelings. Gary L. Wenk. Oxford University Press. 2010. New York
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