Food for Brain Health!
What to avoid
- Refined carbohydrates- white flour, sugar, confectionery and bakery products. These are severely impoverished in many of the vital substances like fibre, B vitamins, Vitamin E and minerals.
- Tea, coffee, chocolate and alcohol either stop the absorption of, or destroy the vital substances.
- Too much bran will affect your mineral uptake.
- Aluminium - Alzheimer's sufferers tend to have higher levels of aluminium in their bodies, though a positive link between aluminium and the disease has not yet been established. Eating acids fruits cooked in aluminium pans may increase the amount of this metal in your body.
Food for Mental Energy
Is there really such a thing as "brain food"? The answer most certainly is, yes. Food is needed for the development of the brain while a baby grows in the mother's womb. It ensures that there is enough energy for brain function for the child, adolescent, and teenager. Food is also essential to keep the brain active and functioning correctly well into old age. A poor diet doesn't just affect your physical well being, it can also have a disastrous impact on the way you behave, your ability to think, reason and concentrate, your memory and co-ordination, and even your mood.
So what does 'brain food' really consists of? Many old wives' tales have more than a grain of truth in them so granny's exhortation to her grandchildren to, eat fish is not far from the mark.
Researches have shown a clear link between the amount of oily fish eaten by pregnant women and the development of the foetal brain. Omega-3 fatty acids supplied by the mother through the placenta make up the greatest proportion by far of brain tissue during foetal growth.
Both before and after birth the brain depends on a constant supply of energy, in the form of glucose and oxygen delivered to the brain cells by circulating blood. For optimum brain function the diet must contain foods which provide both instant- and slow-release energy. Instant-release energy comes from the natural sugars in fruits and vegetables and some starchy foods, slower-release energy comes from the complex wholegrain cereals and some vegetables. The slowest of all energy-givers are proteins like meat,fish and eggs. The diet must also be rich in foods containing iron in a form that the body can easily absorb. Meat of all sorts and particularly liver, are rich sources. Other forms of iron are more difficult to absorb but this can be improved by eating foods rich in Vitamin C at the same time.
Top 10 Brain Foods
Don't become a food freak. Simply get your just desserts if brain food.
- Shellfish for essential zinc protein and some essential fatty acids.
- Fresh smoked or canned oily fish with the exception of canned tuna; they are all rich sources of the vital essential fatty acids the brain needs.
- Sprouted beans are, weight for weight, among the richest food sources of brain nutrients.
- Seeds and nuts for magnesium and vitamin E.
- Apricots for instant-release energy from their natural sugars and for beta-carotene.
- Beetroot to help improve the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.
- Oats and other wholegrain cereals for slow-release energy.
- Rosemary for the essential oils which stimulate brain function and improve memory and concentration.
What Happens When Things Go Wrong?
Just as certain foods help the brain function, so others cause it to mis-function. Too much coffee, excessive alcohol are some major examples. There are other links between food and behaviour which are far more subtle and insidious.
In almost every study of essential nutrients, emotional and mental disorders have been amongst the most prominent results of deficiency.
Researchers have found out the benefits of high-dose vitamins and minerals in the treatment of depression and more serious psychiatric problems like schizophrenia. More studies have shown that simple addition oh highly concentrated fish-oil extracts to the diet can be beneficial too, even in patients of schizophrenia.
Those days when you feel so lethargic and breakfast vanished in the rush. There just wasn't time for lunch, and the thought of cooking at the end of the day was just too much. Of course, when you feel low, it's easier and quicker for the doctor to write a prescription for tranquillisers, anti-depressants, or sleeping pills than to ask about your eating habits or getting you to keep a diet-diary of all your food for a week. But is your lethargy all in the mind? Not at all; it's mostly in what hasn't been put into your mouth.