Our Brain has Nutritional Needs
This often has a bearing on Mood Levels
Your Brain Needs Water
Gowin, Ph.D., Behavioral
most mornings, one of the first stops through my waking-up routine is
the kitchen cupboard, where I keep my cups and other drinking
vessels. Even if I'm not particularly thirsty, as a student of the
brain, I'm convinced of the value of drinking enough water. Of all
the things I've learned for keeping my mind sharp, from getting
enough sleep to doing puzzles, staying hydrated may be the one I
follow most closely.
brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells
require a delicate balance between water and various elements to
operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted.
Your brain cells lose efficiency.
of research have found that when we're parched, we have more
difficulty keeping our attention focused. Dehydration can impair
and the recall of long-term memory. The ability to perform mental
maths, like calculating whether or not you'll be late for work if you
hit snooze for another 15 minutes, is compromised when your fluids
the course of a typical twenty-four hour period, the longest time
most of us go without fluid intake is the six to eight hours we spend
sleeping. Sleeping is hardly the kind of activity that you sweat
over, but that doesn't mean you're not losing water during the night.
With every breath, you lose moisture, and the cumulative effect of a
is to dry out.
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND, THIS WATER MUST BE SPRING OR FILTERED WATER
NOT TAP WATER BECAUSE IT CONTAINS CHEMICALS THAT ARE TOXIC TO YOUR BRAIN.
AND AVOID KEEPING CHEAP PLASTIC BOTTLES OF WATER WITH YOU.
RATHER, GO FOR GLASS OR STAINLESS STEEL.
Improves Brain Function
New studies show low
vitamin D levels may impair cognitive function according to Diane
Welland, a Dietitian and writer for Scientific American.
says the following: The push to prevent skin cancer may have come
with unintended consequences—impaired brain function because of a
deficiency of vitamin D. The “sunshine vitamin” is synthesized in
our skin when we are exposed to direct sunlight, but sunblock impedes
this process. And although vitamin D is well known for promoting bone
health and regulating vital calcium levels, it does more than that.
Scientists have now linked this fat-soluble nutrient’s
hormone-like activity to a number of functions throughout the body,
including the workings of the brain.
know there are receptors for vitamin D throughout the central nervous
system and in the hippocampus,” said Robert J. Przybelski, a doctor
and research scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of
Medicine and Public Health. “We also know vitamin D activates
and deactivates enzymes in the brain and the cerebrospinal fluid that
are involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth.” In
addition, animal and laboratory studies suggest vitamin D protects
neurons and reduces inflammation.
much is enough vitamin D? Experts say 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily—about
the amount your body will synthesize from 15 to 30 minutes of sun
exposure two to three times a week—is the ideal range for almost
all healthy adults. Keep in mind, however, that skin color, where you
live and how much skin you have exposed all affect how much vitamin D
you can produce.
SO MUCH DIANE, FOR YOUR VITAL INPUT INTO PEOPLE'S LIVES!
that Increase Dopamine Naturally
we eat affects the formation of neurotransmitters,
some diet-related neurotransmitters have a significant
on our mood, our appetite and our cravings.
our body has enough Dopamine we're blessed with feelings of bliss and
pleasure, euphoria, appetite control, controlled motor movements, and
we feel focused.
A banana is a good source of tyrosine. Tyrosine is the amino acid
neurons turn into norepinephrine and dopamine. Norepinephrine and
dopamine are excitatory neurotransmitters that are important in
motivation, alertness, concentration and memory.
Betaine, an amino acid naturally present in certain vegetables,
particularly beetroot (beets), is an antidepressant of the first
order. Betaine acts as a stimulant for the production of SAM-e (S-adenoslmethionine).
The body cannot do without SAM-e, which it produces.
directly related to the production of certain hormones, such as
dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of
well-being and pleasure.
Free Range Eggs:
Research from the University of California, Berkeley suggests that
people who suffer from depression have low amount of serotonin,
norepinephrine and dopamine in their brains. One natural
antidepressant is to increase dopamine by eating protein-rich foods.
such as eggs for this purpose, because they are versatile and appeal
to some people who choose
not to eat meat.
and legumes are rich in protein and are healthful boosters of both
dopamine and norepinephrine. Also, Protein Meat, Milk, Eggs, Cheese
and fish are very healthy, high-protein,
Watermelon juice is loaded with vitamins A, B6, and C! Vitamin B6 is
used by the body to manufacture neurotransmitters such as serotonin,
melatonin, and dopamine. Vitamin C also enhances the immune system
while protecting the body from free radicals.
scientists have shown that subjects deficient in omega-3 fatty acids
had more receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin and a
corresponding decrease in dopamine in the frontal
Eating for Brain Power
Thinking, dreaming, cooking, focusing, body
movement, breathing, living, laughing all these functions and in fact every
action you can think of require the brain. Considering that
the brain is the control centre for the whole body, I think that
nourishing this organ with the right for foods, should be a priority.
STOP THE CONFUSION
Interestingly the brain requires
around 20% of our daily energy intake, and its preferable source is
carbohydrates (the organic fresh variety of fruits and vegetables). This
information is no green card to indulge in high sugar foods, quite the contrary
with researchers finding that high blood sugar is associated with elevated
cortisol…this hormone actually impairs memory. So keep the food as
natural as possible, and choose the slow releasing carbohydrates like beans,
potatoes, bananas (with some walnuts..perfect mix), apples and the majority of
fresh organic produce contain fibre, this slows down the blood glucose release
creating perfect energy for the brain.
EAT YOUR FATS
The brain is the master computer that sends
chemical messages throughout the whole body, instructing the organs on what to
do. This process is made possible by an important group of chemical messengers,
prostaglandins, these initiate the self-repair mechanisms in the body. In order
to manufacture healthy brain cells and prostaglandins, the body MUST have Omega
3 and 6 fatty acids. Integral to the
cell membranes and enzymes within the cells.
brain is 60% fat and it requires
supply of healthy essential fats to create healthy cells.
Interestingly these fats can also be used for treating
depression and other psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, as well as
benefiting infant brain development.
Some great sources include; organic flax seeds,
organic walnuts organic sunflower seeds, organic pumpkin seeds, cold water fish
(salmon and sardines), organic avocado, organic olives and their oil.
Not all fats are created equal and the nasty
trans-fats found in some processed foods, and all deep fried foods can actually
damage cellular structure and affect thinking by affecting the synapses. So the message is clean, keep your food as
fresh, organic and healthy as possible.
Three Excerpts From
Scientifically Proven to Make You Feel Good
How can foods improve our moods? It all comes
down to the brain. A healthy cognitive system is essential to regulating mood,
and certain nutrients have a profound impact on maintaining normal brain
function. To date, researchers have studied the association between foods and
the brain and identified nine nutrients that can combat depression and boost
our mood: calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids,
vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc. Try one of these foods for a
mid-day pick-me-up, to promote long-term happiness, or to ward off the nagging
worry that you forgot to lock the front door (You did remember, right?).
A trace mineral found in small amounts in the
body, Chromium helps the body metabolize food. A lack of chromium hurts the
body’s ability to regulate insulin (the hormone that regulates sugar) and may
lead to diabetes-related complications like vision loss and high blood pressure.
How eating it helps: Chromium plays an
important role in increasing the brains’ level of serotonin, norepinephrine,
and melatonin, which help the brain regulate emotion and mood. Because chromium
works directly with the brain’s mood regulators, it’s been found to be an
effective treatment of depression.
Folate (alternatively known as B9 or folic
acid) helps the body create new cells and supports serotonin regulation.
Serotonin passes messages between nerve cells and helps the brain manage a
variety of functions, from determining mood to regulating social behavior.
Folate deficiency can cause fatigue in addition to lowering levels of serotonin.
How eating it helps: A pair of power nutrients,
Folate and B12 are often paired together to treat depression. By itself, Folate
has the added benefit of boosting the efficiency of antidepressants.
Magnesium is a mineral that plays over 300
roles in maintaining and protecting the body’s health. Deficiency can cause
irritability, fatigue, mental confusion, and predisposition to stress.
How eating it helps: Magnesium plays a large
role in the development of serotonin, which is a major contributor to feelings
of happiness. Due to its ability to help regulate emotions, it’s a common
element in homeopathic remedies
for balancing mood.
Vitamin B6 helps the production of
neurotransmitters (which send messages from the brain to the rest of the body).
Deficiency in B6 can cause short-term anemia; long-term effects include a
weakened immune system,
confusion, and depression.
How eating it helps: Consuming vitamin B6 is
essential for regulating brain function, which influences our emotions. In
addition to regulating healthy moods, Vitamin B6 is also an effective method
for treating premenstrual depression.
Vit B12 is an essential element that aids in the
creation of red blood cells and nerves. Low levels of B12 can cause short-term
fatigue, slowed reasoning, and paranoia, and are associated with depression .
Vitamin B-12 is found naturally in meats, eggs, and animal byproducts, meaning
vegetarians and vegans have an increased risk
of developing a deficiency.
How eating it helps: Because moods depend
largely on signals from the brain, B12 plays an important role in regulating
depression — consuming enough Vitamin B12 allows the body to synthesize a group
of nutrients critical for normal neurological function.