We already know that what we put in our body dictates what we are, i.e. we are what we eat. Not only is nutrition important to managing weight, it’s also important to managing our brain power. It might not seem like it, but it takes a great deal of energy to run the brain. In fact the brain uses up 20% of our resting metabolic rate, even though it only accounts for about 2% of our body weight. The brain is responsible for processing every single piece of information you come in contact with during the day. You may not even be aware of the information that comes in through all five senses that your brain must process.
There is no way for our conscious mind to evaluate every single piece of data. Because our senses are exposed to so much our brain filters out what is really necessary to the task at hand. Everything else gets processed in our subconscious mind. Everything gets cataloged somewhere. When we need a piece of information the neuro-circuitry of the brain recalls it. Not to mention, talking, walking, thinking, etc. No wonder our brains require between 200-300 calories a day. It also needs good nutrition. Feeding the brain the right foods will help you stay focused and energized.
The Best Foods To Support Your Brain
One of the key components of brain cells is Docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, which is a fatty acid. 40% of the fatty acid in a brain cell membrane is DHA, one of the main omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. This is why we hear so much about omega-3s. They are an essential building block to our brain’s ability to function and regenerate. Those with higher levels of DHA in the blood have been associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Omega-3/DHA can be found primarily in fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, etc. It can also be found in plant-based foods such as walnuts, flaxseed oil, and edamame.
The brain needs protection from free-radicals and toxins. This is why a diet rich in leafy green and cruciferous vegetables are good for the brain. A leafy green vegetable such as kale and spinach, or a cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli, contain antioxidants which protect the brain (along with the rest of the body) from oxidation. Various types of berries also contain massive amounts of antioxidants. Free radicals are created when the body converts fuel into energy. Because the brain uses so much energy it is especially vulnerable to free radicals.
Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 67% if taken in plant form versus a supplement. A great source of vitamin E is avocado, which is also an antioxidant. Almonds, nuts and seeds in general, are also a great source of vitamin E.
Dark chocolate is not only a sweet treat, but it also boasts mood-boosting characteristics and antioxidants. It contains flavonoid, which is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Other foods containing flavonoids are apples, red and purple grapes, red wine, onions, tea and beer. Of course, use the red wine and beer in moderation.
Eat whole grain foods. These complex carbohydrates will keep your glucose level stabilized throughout the day. The brain’s primary fuel is glucose. Foods that cause a spike in glucose can set your brain up to fall down. It doesn’t have to be whole grains. Fruits and vegetables and smart snacking throughout the day can help keep your brain energized and focused.
Lastly, drink plenty of water. Water is necessary to assist with getting nutrients to the brain and removing toxins. Since the brain is about 75-85% water, it requires a good amount of water to function at optimal levels. The average woman should consume around 2.7 liters a day while a man should get about 3.7. This changes with lifestyle and environmental conditions. You need just as much water in extreme heat as you do in extreme cold. Fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, etc. count toward this number. If you want to know how much water you should be drinking, multiply your weight by 2/3. If you weigh, 160 pounds, you should drink about 107 ounces of water daily. The more you weigh, exercise, etc. the more water you need.
When your brain is healthy it can function on all cylinders. Your brain doesn’t just keep the body working it’s also the key to achieving success. A brain that isn’t fatigued or dehydrated can focus, ward off disease and be your biggest ally in achieving goals. If you found this post helpful, share it in your communities and start boosting your brain power today!
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