What’s the best brain food?

Your brain never shuts down, not even while you’re asleep. No wonder it needs a constant supply of fuel. This comes from the foods we eat. So, it’s ironic our brains don’t realise that the composition of this fuel is important – not just for our physical health, but for our mental wellbeing. What we eat impacts the structure and function of our brain and our mood.

Eating real foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress — the free radicals produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells. Processed foods lack these benefits, while diets high in refined sugars, for example, are harmful to the brain. In addition to impacting the body’s regulation of insulin, they also promote inflammation and oxidative stress. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function and even making worse symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.

Increasingly we are finding that there are consequences and correlations between what we eat, how we feel and also how we behave. One important point being the bacteria that live in our guts. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is mostly produced in our guts and helps regulate sleep, appetite and mediate moods. So it appear our digestive system doesn’t just help us digest food, but also guides our emotions. What’s more, the ‘friendly bacteria’ that help also play a wider role in our health, limiting inflammation, helping us absorb nutrients, activating neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain. No surprise then that studies have shown that when people include probiotics in their diets, their anxiety levels, perception of stress and mental outlook improve.

Give it a go: boost your intake of vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains and fish for a few weeks while also cutting back or avoiding processed and refined foods and sugars. Pay attention to how these new food combination make you feel. You may just be surprised by the positive impact both physically and emotionally.

Make eating real food Just Routine

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