The brain is a hungry organ. In fact, perhaps it is the most demanding organ in our body, and for good reason. Of course this vital organ is essential to our being and our existence. Our thoughts and our memories and our capacity to think and solve problems etc., is what makes us who we are. All of the autonomic functions that are orchestrated by our brains can surely keep us living but there is a big difference between merely living and being alive.
So what can we do to keep our brains in optimal condition so the we can enjoy who we are for years to come?
First it is important to know a few things about the brain. The brain is comprised of essentially a mass of trillions of nerve cells called neurons. Neurons are special cells that form networks with each other and they transmit messages or nerve impulses throughout the body. The transmission of these nerve impulse through these complicated networks end up as our thoughts and our actions, and it all happens at lightening speed. Nerve tissue is highly active and therefore requires a lot of energy and nutrients to work properly.
If we are not taking care of ourselves and providing a healthy environment for our bodies, then our brains will suffer. We may not even notice it now but eventually this may manifest as one of many neurodegenerative diseases such as senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown that this type of neurodegeneration can be prevented or at least slowed down by doing things as simple as keeping the brain active. In fact, people who spend their time doing activities that require a lot of thinking or problem solving are less likely to develop dementia.
As far as actually feeding our brain is concerned, the more healthy our diet and lifestyle, the better it is for our brain and body. However there are many specific nutrients that can help our brains functions even better.
Here is a top-5 list that will keep you thinking:
Fish – There is definitely some truth to the saying that eating fish makes you smarter because fish contains a lot of essential fatty acids, more specifically omega-3 fatty acids. These oils are essential to proper nerve function and our bodies do not produce much. The more we get from our diets, the better. Fatty fish such as salmon are among the best sources.
Berries – As discussed in a previous blog, berries contain a lot of anti-oxidants antioxidants, which quench the free radicals that can wreak havoc on our bodies. The darker the berry the better.
Avocados – Are full of healthy monounsaturated fats that have been shown to help with brain function. This superfood should be incorporated into your diet if it isn’t already.
Nuts and Seeds – Are high in essential oils and nutrients that prevent cognitive decline. Raw is better than roasted, and about a handful a day is enough.
Broccoli – Contains many health benefits including vitamin K, which has be shown to enhance cognitive function.
This is a short list of food superstars that not only help feed our brains but also can benefit us in many ways. If you haven’t thought of it already, then do so. Your brain will definitely think it is a good idea!
If you would like to discuss better nutrition further, please don’t hesitate to ask – 519-258-8544.